Dining With Denise Neil

How much bacon can you eat – then wash it all down with a beer?

Bacon will be the star at Saturday’s third annual Air Capital Bacon & Beer Festival.
Bacon will be the star at Saturday’s third annual Air Capital Bacon & Beer Festival. Courtesy photo

You can eat all the bacon and sip all the beer you want. You can try to win a bacon-eating contest. And you can ride a mechanical pig.

But not in that order, please.

Saturday is the third annual Air Capital Bacon and Beer Festival at Hartman Arena, and it is once again a celebration of America’s favorite pork product. It will last from 4 to 7 p.m.

It will feature unlimited samples of bacon-centric appetizers from about a dozen local restaurants as well as samples of more than 75 types of beer, most provided by Wichita’s local breweries.

But the star of the show is bacon, whose popularity never seems to wane, said Shelby Sachs of Jade Presents, the Fargo, N.D.-based promoter that puts on bacon festivals all over the country.

“You’d think that the trend would start going away,” she said. “But we have done three different festivals in different markets and have sold out every single one. The popularity seems to just keep building and building. People aren’t getting sick of it.”

Among the restaurants providing samples on Saturday are Red Robin, Cero’s Candies, Chris Cakes, Jimmy’s Egg, Sweetly Scrumptious, Hurts Donut, Il Vicino and LumpiaPalooza food truck.

In between bacon bites, attendees also can sample beers from River City, Wichita Brewing Company, Hopping Gnome, Aero Plains, Third Place and more.

Both the restaurants and breweries will be competing for people’s choice awards, and the winner in each category will take home an “obnoxiously large trophy,” Sachs said.

Wichita’s first bacon festival was in 2015, and it drew a huge crowd but was short on samples. In 2016, the arena chose Jade Presents to run the event, and the problems were corrected.

Just over 700 people attended last year, Sachs said, but with good word of mouth from that event, she’s opening to double attendance on Saturday.

The festival also will include a bacon-eating contest with two contestants chosen from the crowd, a rideable mechanical pig, live music from Sunshine the Bunny and more. All of the samples and activities are included with the price of a ticket, which is $30 in advance, $35 the day of the event.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

Air Capital Beer & Bacon Festival

What: A bacon and craft beer tasting and party featuring samples from local restaurants and breweries

When: 4-7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hartman Arena, Park City

Tickets: Must be 21 to enter the arena. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of the event. Advance tickets available at www.hartmanarena.com.