This year I've been a first-time attendee at long-time food festivals for two reasons: First, to get my almost-4-year-old daughter out of the house on nice days; and second, to support the local food festival scene.
When I heard a BaconFest was in the works I volunteered to help because I'm all for the success of new food festivals in my area. Within the volunteer form I listed my skills (writing, editorial, blogging, etc.). A day or two before the event I received an email that I was assigned to a Bacon Station, whatever that meant. And on that day, I showed up at Bristol Motor Speedway, where the event transpired.
Other volunteers didn't. So instead of "enjoying the festival" from 10am-2pm when my shift at the bacon station started (at 2pm, that is, if that earlier time span wasn't clear), I expedited and served bacon at a concession stand. It wasn't ordinary bacon. Some was jalapeno bacon. Some was maple bacon. Some was apple cide bacon, and some was... Oh, I forget. It's all a blurry bacon nightmare. And the shame is that all that bacon grease went to waste. Imagine the gravy it could have made.
There is such a thing as too much bacon, after all, especially after standing on concrete floor in a hot kitchen, a kitchen whose working environment is hotter than the outside temperature. I grew dizzy from twisting like a ser-vi-tron from stainless steel serving table to concession window repetedly to keep up with the folks demanding bacon.
Serving the public is what I do in my day job, so that was a breeze. Yet, in my day job, I'm a font of knowledge. When these folks asked me questions, I hated being dumb, not knowing the answers. So that was an irritation:
Where is the water fountain?
Where can I buy this bacon?
But, we all know that if librarians ran everything the world would be in a much different place, now wouldn't it?
I spent a fifteen minute break in my car with all my air conditioning vents pointed at my hair so that I wouldn't resemble someone still wearing an unfortunate 80s wet mousse look.
There were food vendors present. There were artists selling their wares. And I heard ocassional snatches of music. I spotted an accordionist whose playing I ached to hear. After the fact, I saw photos of a hog calling contest and a Man V. Bacon contest wherein men consumed quantites of bacon quickly.
But, mostly I remain stunned. However, troubling my experience was, it was good that I had it. Never have I been more clear about what I will and will not do for bacon; What my body can and cannot do for bacon; Where my talents lie for bacon. And my old, tired body took at least a day to recover from standing on its feet for 4-5 hours, nonstop. Whine, whine, whine: I know, if the sad old thing was used to it, no problem.
Ian said that some of his co-workers attended and remarked that they had a baconlicious time (okay, they don't talk like that, but if they could, they would; it was more like Grunt, Snort, Snuffle...). So, that's fantastic. I think the best part of the day was being a bacon pusher. We were told to give it away, and I told folks to take as much as they'd like and come back for seconds, thirds. And that the rest would be donated to Second Harvest, our local food bank.