Bacon Bash 2018 Royal Oak Farmers Market

What goes better with bacon than more bacon? Lots of beers, that’s what! If this sentiment rings true I suggest asking Siri to remind you to purchase your tickets for Bacon Bash 2019. The 2018 event is over, I know this because I ate all the bacon and drank all the beers and I didn’t see you there (maybe because of all the beers). While scrolling through things to do in Michigan I came across Bacon Bash in Royal Oak and thought, “Bacon and Beer? THIS is hog heaven ;).” Seriously though, if you don’t care about bacon or beers but are a fan of horrible puns, keep reading because they get worse.

The Logistics

Who: You and some friends? Maybe go solo and make friends?
What: Bacon and Beers
Why: Seriously? BACON AND BEERS
Where: The Royal Oak Farmers Market
When: Saturday, April 7th, 2018 @ 7:30 PM (the date changes annually because the Earth spins slow, 365 isn’t easily divisible by 7, leap year, and just general sciencey/math type things).
How: Tickets…you need tickets and make sure you get them early because the event sells out. Speaking of tickets, there are two options:

  1. General Admission: $50 (7:30 PM Entry) until 10:30 PM
    10 Beverage Sample Tickets
    Unlimited Bacon & Dessert Samplings
    – Commemorative Glass
    – Keepsake Photo
    – Coat Check Included (Gratuity Suggested)
  2. VIP Admission: $65 (6:30 PM Entry) until 10:30 PM
    15 Beverage Sample Tickets
    Unlimited Bacon & Dessert Samplings
    – Commemorative Glass
    – Keepsake Photo
    – Coat Check Included (Gratuity Suggested)

The VIP Admission provides you with 5 additional beverage sampling tickets and a full hour to discuss fancy things unencumbered by the General Admission peasants. I personally opted for the General Admission option because the additional 5 beverage samples could very well have been responsible for me losing my camera and/or forgetting what to write about in this post. I also recommend purchasing your tickets early because prices increase $5 the week of the event and as mentioned, the event sells out. I realize this isn’t going to break the piggy bank but five dollars is five dollars.

Bacon Bash 2018 Royal Oak Farmers Market

Now that I’ve admitted to taking the General Admission route at my first Bacon Bash, I would likely opt for the VIP Admission tickets next time because the place gets packed, the lines get long and the best bacon samples don’t last very long. The VIP’ers were going hog wild on bacon and booze while the rest of us were in an outdoor line freezing our tails off waiting to get in. Imagine how much bacon you could eat in 1 hour with no lines!

Upon entry, your Bacon Bash tickets are verified and you’re handed a commemorative glass with your drink tickets and 3 cards intended for casting your votes (more on this later). Later on during the event, I found a map in the garbage can (looked around to see if anyone was watching) but ultimately decided not to take it out, since….well, since it was in the trash but it listed all the vendors and where you could find them. Presumably, these were also available at the front but I somehow missed them…likely because my mind was elsewhere.

The Bacon

This event boasts 40+ participants offering up their best sweet and/or savory bacon related concoctions. There were bacon tacos, bacon nachos, bacon chilis, bacon-wrapped turkey legs, bacon stir-fries, bacon-infused green beans, candied bacon, bacon pasta, bacon salad and ice cream…with bacon, just to name a few. I also sampled (multiple) PB&J’s which was pineapple wrapped in bacon with a delicious jam.

Bacon Bash 2018 Royal Oak Farmers Market
Bacon Cups. You choose the ingredients, they cook it up and use a torch to seal it up with cheese.
Bacon Bash Royal Oak Michigan nacho
Bacon Nacho with bacon chunks, cheese, pickled onions, cilantro and a bacon sauce. Nom, nom, nom.

Am I bacon you hungry yet?

The vendors handed out a variety of appetizers, main dish samples, snacks, and desserts. What’s cool about this event is that while event-goers are pigging out on bacon samples, the participants are actually competing for a coveted spot at the World Food Championships in Alabama – so you know the stuff is going to be top notch. There is also a voting station where event goers can cast their vote for their favorite vendor in the following 3 areas:

Best All-Around, Most Unique & Most Flavorful.

DISCLAIMER: I may have used all 10 drink tickets and forgotten to cast my vote but these cards did not go to waste. I found them in my back pocket 3 hours and 2 bars later and they were well utilized for a borderline inappropriate photo op.

The Beers

Not to be overshadowed by the bacon, 60+ craft beer, wine, and cocktail establishments were slangin’ their libations to help wash down that bacon. A number of Michigan based craft breweries were present along with larger national breweries, a few swine options and I heard there was a Bloody Mary bar, which I somehow missed.

Bacon Bash 2018 Royal Oak Farmers Market

They had beverages for all tastes and preferences including those with both light, medium and dark pigment. They also had a nice selection of snouts…err stouts. (I know, I know…these last two were a bit of a stretch, I get it.)

The Tunes

The event featured live music by a local band by the name of Cosmic Groove because their music is out of this world…seriously, it says so on their website. They played a lot of great covers from a wide range of music and it was a perfect compliment to the bacon and beers! I’m talking rap, oldies, country, 80’s, rock, and pop. They literally had something for everyone and anyone who enjoys music. You can find them here:

www.cosmicgrooveband.com

Bacon Bash 2018 Royal Oak Farmers Market Cosmic Groove

The Strategy

If I were to attend another Bacon Bash, I would purchase my tickets far in advance of the event, as there are special promos and early bird specials. When I say early, I’m talking 4 months(ish) early, so be sure to plan accordingly. I would also splurge on the VIP Admission and arrive extra early since a line forms outside (and Michigan is usually cold in April). Once inside, the breweries and bacon vendors are intertwined, which I actually liked so you could hit a few samples and finish your beer sample before arriving at the next pig pen or bacon station.

I’d suggesting trying to locate a fresh map before it makes its way to a soiled dumpster – then use that map to hit your favorite spots. If you have a group, lock down one of the few and coveted tables and take turns grabbing samples because when the tables fill up, people tend to hoard them.

I would purchase some type of device to hold my beer, as you’ll really need both hands for the bacon. Something similar to the device shown below should do the trick, plus it’s functional…and classy, right?

The Perfect Beer Holder for Bacon Bash
Image courtesy of scoutmob.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, you’re going to get really full at this event, like… “Thanksgiving day take a deep breathe and unbutton your pants full.” So if you’re like me and feel that you need to use 100% of your drink tickets to get your money’s worth, I’d recommend locating the wine and Bloody Mary vendors early on. This way, you’ll have more room for the unlimited bacon and you won’t find yourself beer full.

What I liked (Hog Heaven)

  • This event was not slopped together. The event organizers did a fantastic job organizing, laying out the event and bringing in some top-notch vendors.
  • The vendors really worked hard to make some creative, bacon-inspired creations. I cannot imagine the amount of time and effort that goes into preparing for an event like this but their hard work really paid off.
  • The event was fun, well organized and all the food, drinks and music were great.

What I didn’t like (Hogwash)

  • There was a long line halfway around the building when we showed up. Granted a free coat check is offered inside so it’s not like you’re freezing, but I didn’t eat all day knowing that I was going to gorge myself at this event. You may find yourself standing outside, cold and hangry so just plan accordingly.
  • I feel like the event planners could sell fewer tickets OR event goers could choose different time slots since I doubt anyone stays the full length of the event. This would help vendors plan better so they wouldn’t run out of food and you’d accidentally ram into far fewer people.
  • How did nobody serve pigs in a blanket? Or ladies…why not serve samples rocking pigtails? Come on ya’ll, these are easy ones! Maybe too easy?

So there you have it! Bacon Bash 2018 was a success, assuming you measure success by how full and uncomfortable you feel while walking out of a farmers market. If you’ve read this far, you’re clearly interested in Bacon Bash so I highly recommend you set a reminder to purchase your tickets early next year! I promise you won’t be boar-d.

www.baconbash.com

Congratulations to the 2018 Winners
Best All-Around Bacon Dish: The International Culinary Schools At The Art Institutes
Most Unique Bacon Dish: Club Venetian
Most Flavorful Bacon Dish: SOUPer Bowl
Best Bacon Sweet/Dessert: Granite City
Best Smith Brand Bacon: Cajun Bacon

Check out this similar article:

St. Joe Michigan Winter Beer Fest

Have you attended Bacon Bash? If so, what was your favorite concoction?

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