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Bacon. Beer. Bemidji.: First-ever Bacon & Beer Fest on May 31

BEMIDJI — Bacon, often found among lettuce and a tomato shoved between two pieces of bread or next to a huge stack of pancakes, also has a way of showing up in unexpected places.

Today, bacon can be found in flavored toothpaste, flavored soda, soap that includes the flavor, scented candles and even flavored baby food.

And bacon, along with beer, will be taking over the Sanford Center parking lot on May 31 for the first-ever August Schell Brewery & Bernick’s United Way Bacon & Beer Fest.

The festival is the of first its kind for the Sanford Center, but they hoping for everyone will get involved as “bacon is just one of those things that is universally liked,” said Ashley Loduca, marketing coordinator at the Sanford Center.

Local vendors will be providing bacon-inspired products including Tutto Bene, Cattails Bar and Grill, Lueken’s Village Foods, Dickey’s Barbecue and several others. Each vendor will also provide an entry into the August Schell Best Bacon Dish contest. “There are no set rules, that’s the beauty of the whole operation,” Loduca said, allowing vendors to be as creative with the bacon as possible.

“The food is a surprise,” Loduca said, as none of the bacon dishes will be revealed until the festival. “It’s kind of exciting to see what everyone comes up with.” Local celebrities judge the best use of the bacon.

While sampling bacon dishes, attendees will be able to a taste a variety of microbrews, observe the Bemidji Cooperative pig races and listen to local bands including Catching Clarity, Kat and the Cosmic Stuntman, Pelican Railroad, The Acoust Hicks and Molly and the Dreamers, from Minneapolis, compete in the Moondance Jam Battle of the Bands. “Each band will play for 45 minutes, with 15 minute intermissions between,” Loduca said.

The festival will benefit the local Bemidji area, with a “portion of the proceeds going to the United Way, it’s organized in a way to support local business,” Loduca said.

The bacon festivities will continue when the Bemidji Axeman take on the Texas Revolution in the Sanford Center arena later Saturday, with the Lueken’s Monster Bacon Cheeseburger eating contest during the halftime show.

Maggi Stivers

Maggi Stivers is a Multi-Media Journalist at the Bemidji Pioneer. She covers art and entertainment in the Bemidji area. She is a 2013 Bemidji State graduate majoring in mass communications with a minor in sociology. Contact her at (218) 333-9790 or

(218) 333-9790