The Maryland Bacon Festival made its inaugural debut in Baltimore on Saturday, April 26th. The all-day event (12pm-10pm) was held at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor and featured Bacon dishes from several restaurants including: Cambridge Eatery, Bandito’s, Rams Head Live, Wyndham Hotels, Ryleigh’s Oyster, and Jimmy’s Seafood. This event was created to be the quintessential bacon lover’s dream, until it turned into somewhat of a nightmare. Imagine my excitement when I scored a VIP ticket to dreamland, only to be in for a rude awakening. Well…it wasn’t that dramatic, but it was like Charlotte’s Web of confusion.
I arrived at the Maryland Bacon Festival around 3:00 pm and displayed my ticket at the entrance gate, the young lady at the gate directed me to another booth. At the second booth I was given 10 sample food tickets and three drink tickets, a t-shirt, and VIP lanyard badge. I knew that VIP access would allow me entry into the exclusive tent that included a seating area and a private bar, but when I asked about the long lines that were forming at each food vendor booth I was told the VIP badge did nothing.
That was very disappointing because the lines for each vendor were extremely long, I’m talking about 50 + people in each line. The shortest line was for Blue Grass, I didn’t know what they were serving but the sensible thing was to get in the line because it was the shortest. When I got to the booth I was handed a sample of chicken and waffles, and it’s no wonder the line was short…no bacon. I was told that the waffle was bacon flavored and after taking a bite I did taste hints of bacon in the waffle. Not quite ready to tackle the other long lines I went back to the VIP tent to get a drink. While in the tent I ate half of someone else’s bacon-wrapped bacon sample. I’m not sure which vendor offered this dish, but it was a real example of what the bacon festival is about. It was a jalapeño rolled in soft semi-cooked bacon covered in bacon and rolled again until it created a palm sized roll topped with a dollop of barbecue sauce.
On my second venture out onto the infield, I asked some other VIP ticket holders about the advantage of purchasing VIP tickets. They advised me that with the VIP lanyard, I was entitled to walk to the front of the line and get my sample without the wait. I attempted to do that and was told, “No you have to get in line.” At this point I’m frustrated and mad but my mission was bacon so I decided to stand in line. I stood in one line for 10 minutes and the line did not move one inch 🙁 This was the moment I gave up. My best friend suggested we go over to the area that featured four food trucks and she purchased food from one of the trucks because the lines were much shorter. There were other food vendors on the other side of the Rash Field across from the Volley Ball area but at that point I was too frustrated to walk aaaalll the way around the other side just to stand in line again…a much shorter line, but still a line. The Maryland Bacon Festival definitely oversold tickets and was not able to accommodate the patrons that attended the event. Around 5:00 I started hearing people say some vendors were running out of bacon. A bacon festival with no bacon? Better luck next year.