There always seems to be exciting food festivals happening in Iowa year round. Food festivals have diverse themes which showcase the very best from local farmers and cooks. Whether you want to pig out on bacon, or sample the sweetest of syrups, Iowa will tantalize the gourmet in you.
This is a list of a few festivals taking place this winter and spring which celebrate pork in one form or another.
Head to Des Moines for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival which proclaims to be the "Mecca of all bacon festivals." This year the festival will showcase 22 different kinds of bacon with a gross estimated weight of 15,000 pounds! If laid in a straight line, this trail of bacon would cover 40 miles. The public will be able to sample some of America's finest brands of bacon and will have the opportunity to meet the producers and ask questions (like how many pigs does it take to create 40 miles of bacon?). There will also be a bacon lecture series and perhaps the most exciting feature, the "Bacon Queen Pageant" where one lucky lady will be crowned for her knowledge of this specialized cut of smoked meat. Check out the ticket information here.
Taking place in Cedar Rapids this March is the Maple Syrup Festival where you will have the chance to indulge your sweet tooth. The festival will be held on the 21st and 22nd and will be the place to be if you want your fill of pancakes and maple sausage. There will also be presentations on harvesting maple sugar and the general syrup-making process.
Taking place between the 25th and 27th in Boone is the Central Iowa Expo BBQ Cruise and Brew, a festival of barbecue stands, live music, and beer. The festival is free to attend and features $15,000 in cash and prizes! This is a meat lover's paradise and is your chance to fill up on various forms of grilled meat. There are also contests for Margaritas and Bloody Marys, so make sure you have a designated driver if you will be taking part.
The 6th Annual Smokin' in the Junction BBQ Contest will take place on the 24th and 25th in West Des Moines. Come for some freshly grilled meat, live music, inflatable bouncy castles, and a beer garden. This is one of Iowa's largest BBQ competitions and includes over $10,000 in prizes.
Strawberry Days will be held from June 6 - 8 at Strawberry Point. This two day festival will feature parades, tractor pulling, talent shows, a pig kissing contest (pork has to be represented somehow I suppose) and free strawberries!
No matter where you live in Iowa, come celebrate Iowa farms and agriculture!
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