Many participants woke up Saturday and smelled the bacon during the fourth annual Bacon Expo, which was hosted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The Bacon Expo first started four years ago when the idea was cooked up by an Iowa State student in the College of Agriculture, and the expo grew into an educational, fun and family-focused event.
Some aspects the event focuses on each year are where pork comes from, how it’s produced and why Iowa is No. 1 in pork production for the United States.
Every year, the planning process for the next expo starts in January. This allows plenty of time to call vendors, make arrangements and plan an even bigger and better expo for the upcoming fall.
Where does the bacon come from?
Everywhere, said Tayler Etzel, general co-chair and communications for the Bacon Expo.
“The bacon that we use comes from all over ... it depends on the vendor," Etzel said.
There are health factors that come with the pork that is brought in.
Strict recommendations and regulations must be followed with the preparation and handling of the bacon.
“It’s brought into the ISU dining halls and we prepare, package and maintain all the bacon by hand," Etzel said. "We have a great team on hand to help out."
John Armstrong is the second general co-chair for the event, and along with Etzel, makes up part of the executive team of 28 people. An overall team of 120 students help make the Bacon Expo possible.
When it comes to the variety of tasty bacon treats that are available, the creations are entirely dependent on the vendor. The vendors tend to get creative with what they serve to the crowd.
Some variations of the bacon include chocolate-covered bacon, bacon cupcakes and more.
For many people who attend the Bacon Expo, the No. 1 thing to do is to taste and see the endless amounts of bacon. But various educational factors also are incorporated to educate the crowds of all ages.
One of the new activities featured at this year’s expo was the Piglet Pen. Children were able to herd their own "pigs" around the pen. The pigs were made up of pink balloons and had decorative faces.
Other booths and activities that were available for the public to enjoy included bacon bingo, live entertainment, a best oink contest, a bacon-eating contest, kid-friendly activities and a live display of 3- to 4-week-old pigs.