Marquette Wire

MKE Baconfest returns for 5th sizzling year

Photo by www.baconfestmke.com

Photo by www.baconfestmke.com

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Hearing the popping sizzle of strips of salty bacon frying in a pan is mouth-watering. The radio station, 102.9 THE HOG, decided to take advantage of many people’s constant pork cravings by creating a festival dedicated to all things bacon. The fifth annual Baconfest MKE will be held Feb. 14 from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the event center inside Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

Scott Schubert, the promotions director for THE HOG and event coordinator, said that he knew some people in Des Moines, Iowa, who began hosting Baconfests five years before Milwaukee’s got started. He traveled there to check it out and was impressed. He decided 102.9 THE HOG needed to put on a Baconfest for themselves.

“Since the name of the station is THE HOG, bacon makes a lot of sense for that,” Schubert said.

Baconfests have been popping up all over the country.

“I know there’s a couple in Chicago, there’s one in Vegas, (and) Madison had one last year,” Schubert said. “They’re getting very popular.”

THE HOG’s Baconfest took place at the Harley Davidson Museum for its first three years. When the event grew due to increasing popularity, the radio station decided last year to move the event to the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Schubert said that Potawatomi is double the size of the Harley Davidson Museum. With around 35-40 vendors – restaurants, bars, and other businesses that are, for the most part, local to Milwaukee – about 2,300 people will attend this year.

The radio station made some adjustments to the event from customer feedback over the years. They worked to get the lines leading up to the vendor’s tables shorter, changed the times of when people can enter and expanded some room’s housing vendors.

Baconfest MKE has always been held the Sunday after the Super Bowl. This year, it just happened to fall on Valentine’s Day. Schubert said that people will respond to Baconfest landing on Valentine’s day in one of two ways.

“There are people who will not go because it’s Valentine’s Day and they want to do something romantic, and I think there’s people on the other end who think, ‘hey, let’s do this because it is romantic and we love bacon!’” Schubert said.

There will be bacon in all forms and several bars providing bacon vodka and bacon-flavored beer.

On the Clock Bar & Grill, located at 4301 S. Howell Ave., is vending at Baconfest for its third year and providing bacon macaroni and cheese.

“It’s an excellent product,” said Robert Krause, owner of On the Clock. “People love it.”

Krause said he looks forward to promoting his business and the opportunity to give customers the chance to taste something that they would normally have to stop in his restaurant to try.

The Saloon on Calhoun, located at 17000 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield, is making bacon Bloody Marys and rumaki for Baconfest. Rumaki is baked water chestnuts wrapped in pepper-encrusted bacon, with teriyaki maple sauce drizzled over the top. Dave Dayler, owner of the Saloon on Calhoun, said that their business is one of the few vendors that have been there for all five Baconfests.

“It’s fun for us because we’re a bacon-focused bar,” Dayler said. “It’s a chance for us to just celebrate some of the fun things that we do with bacon and let people know that we are out in Brookfield and have a bacon-esque menu.”

Schubert said that he hopes that everyone enjoys themselves at the event as well as the bacon. His goal is to get people to want to come back next year.

“It’s a fun event,” Dayler said. “People will wear a lot of bacon-type t-shirts, and I see a lot of bacon hats. It’s a chance for people to get together and get bacon-focused items.”

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