Bacon. It has been known to make grown men cry, make women jealous and bring together people of differing viewpoints. Now, the power of bacon has been verified to even convert vegans into meat eaters.

Bacon will be celebrated at the upcoming Baconfest Chicago, which will be held at the UIC Forum on April 9. Tickets sold out in a matter of minutes on February 25, but as presenting sponsors, the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) wanted to give one last chance for those who weren't able to get in on the online ticket ordering frenzy, to attend the event and really "pig out."

IPPA sponsored a contest for folks to tell Illinois' bacon makers their favorite bacon story and/or why they deserve to win tickets to Chicago's premiere bacon outing. Nearly 60 entries were received with many great stories ranging from bacon in childhood memories to "bacon parties" rather than "birthday parties." But the winning story was a classic tale of bacon converting a vegan back to a meat eater.

Julee Laurent from St. Joseph, MI was the winner of 2 tickets to Baconfest for her winning story.

“I was a vegan for two years. After a late night at work, my body felt like it needed something more than fruits and vegetables. I needed BACON! I made the perfect BLT. With each bite I felt my energy return and saw the end of my vegan days. Bacon is again a part of my family."

Julee and her guest will be on their way to Chicago for the biggest bacon-centered event around, which features bacon masterpieces from more than 53 chefs.

“We congratulate Julee on being selected as the Baconfest story winner and for transitioning back into becoming a meat eater again,” said Erin Cleary, IPPA Director of Marketing and Education. "We're glad to have her back!"