Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival doubles down in Japan

Brian Taylor Carlson | Des Moines Register | 8:13 am CDT September 11, 2018
There's a lot more than bacon at the Olympic themed 2018 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

Back by popular demand, organizers of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival will return to Japan to co-host the second annual Japan Bacon Festival, with this year's theme of “Bacon Wars: The Pork Loin Strikes Back!”

As the theme alludes, the event will not only feature bacon as a key ingredient, pork loin will be added to the mix.

Japan Bacon Festival 2018 in Yamanashi
Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival/Special to the Register

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“Sharing our insane passion for pork with other cultures inspires us," said Brooks Reynolds, co-founder of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and chairman of the Iowa Bacon Board. "We love seeing how their unique perspectives lead to both using and celebrating pork in ways we’ve never dreamed.”

Other enhancements include larger festival grounds and a move from a one-day festival to two days of pork-infused madness.

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It takes place Sept. 29-30 in two adjacent parks outside of Kofu Central Station in Kofu. The cross-cultural celebration will offer attendees:

The inaugural Japan Bacon Festival took place on Nov. 3, 2017, attracting more than 10,000 bacon-loving participants and media coverage across Japan.

Molly Schuyler competes in the bacon-eating contest at the 2014 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Schuyler won the contest.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Register file photo

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The festival is a result of an ongoing collaboration between the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and Junior Chamber International Kofu (JCIK) with the goal of celebrating the Iowa Hog Lift, a historic humanitarian effort that took place in 1959. Japan had been devastated by two huge typhoons, and Iowa’s response was to airlift 36 breeding hogs and ship 100,000 bushels of corn to help with the recovery effort.

The initiative is credited with setting the stage for Iowa and Yamanashi becoming sister states by formal agreement, opening markets in Japan for U.S. goods and services, and initiating agricultural cooperator programs between the United States and Japan. 

Iowa's Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is organized and promoted by the Iowa Bacon Board and is recognized as the world’s premier bacon festival. The 12th annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is open to all ages and takes place Feb. 16, 2019, at the Iowa Events Center. 

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