bacon 2c cymk

A two-block extravaganza on Saturday is going to offer both family fun and the opportunity to pick up small gifts. South Dakota’s only bacon festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with a scavenger hunt and continue into the evening.

Sponsored by the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bacon Bash will also honor the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. This will be seen in the evening when Whiskey Rich takes the stage.

“They’re going to do a couple tribute songs for the military and first responders,” said Eric Hortness, GMACC executive director.

Organizers weren’t sure what to expect when they began planning the event. Not only is the Bacon Bash being held on the same day as the Sidewalk Arts Festival in Sioux Falls, but it is also competing against a rib fest and car show in Vermillion.

They didn’t know whether they would be able to attract vendors or line up other attractions. However, with other community events scheduled throughout the fall, they chose the only free weekend and put effort into pulling together a winning event.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Hortness said.

What emerged was an event with eight food vendors, 10 retail vendors and a slate of activities that begins at 11 a.m. and wraps up at 8 p.m.

“The band is going to be the last act of the day,” Hortness indicated. The country group will play a blend of original and cover songs.

Bacon Bash vendors will have the clues for the scavenger hunt which begins at 11 a.m. Each clue will lead to other vendors for prize giveaways.

Food vendors include local favorites like Gaylen’s Gourmet Popcorn, Jack’s Meat Market and Taste & See Fresh Kitchen, as well as others that were popular during DownTown in MadTown. Retail vendors include consultants for products such as Pampered Chef and Norwex, but will also offer clothing, home décor items and jewelry.

A ball drop, which will occur at noon, 3 and 6 p.m., will take visitors to other businesses around town. The balls will bear logos from 15 businesses.

“You take it into that business for a small prize,” Hortness said. Those can be collected anytime during the following week.

The Makin’ Bacon contest will allow businesses to compete for trophies and amateurs to compete for cash prizes. Entries in the food competition will be judged in sweet and savory categories on the stage between Sundog Coffee and Ericsson Law Office at 1 p.m.

“The only rule is that it has to include bacon in some form,” Hortness stated.

The kid’s zone will stretch for two blocks along Egan Ave. and will include inflatables with a Western theme, little train rides and face painting. A remote-controlled racetrack will be among the inflatables, according to Hortness.

“We will also have a booth that’s decorating your own piggy bank,” he indicated.

Lake County 4-H members and local FFA members will be offering a petting zoo. That will be on the northern end of the two-block area designated for the event.

A corn on the cob eating contest was added to the slate of events after the original poster was designed. Organized by the Chamber Ag Committee, it will give participants the opportunity to win a $50 Mad Money gift card by eating more corn on the cob than other competitors in two minutes.

That event is being promoted on the chamber’s Facebook page. Registration is required.

Finally, the local chapter of the Dream Factory will be holding a fund-raiser in conjunction with the Bacon Bash. The Madison Police Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Madison Volunteer Fire Department are working to raise money for the organization.

“Whoever raises the least amount of money has to kiss the pig,” Hortness said.

He is excited about the Saturday event and about the buzz it is generating in the community. He hopes interest will translate into good attendance.

The current forecast is for sunshine with temperatures in the mid-70s, which should provide ideal weather for an outdoor event.