Bacon, the All-American favorite flavor, and bourbon, the All-American liquor, will be featured at the Bacon & Bourbon Festival, set for Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25 at the grounds of the Wellington Community Center and the Wellington Amphitheater.
Billed as an unforgettable experience for the area’s bacon and bourbon lovers, this will be the third annual Bacon & Bourbon Festival, but the first time the event will be held in Wellington. It had previously been held in Delray Beach.
Kentucky-based Buffalo Trace Distillery and the Village of Wellington are sponsoring the event, which pairs together a variety of foods and desserts made from bacon, with sipping bourbon. Some of the bacon-inspired food includes: the famous roasted bourbon, barbecue pork and bacon sandwich; pig roasts; bacon ice cream sundaes; and chocolate covered bacon — plus a full bacon bar.
Along with the dozens of bacon-infused dishes and over 40 different bourbons and whiskeys (or different beers and wines for those who prefer them) there are a series of bacon and bourbon pairing seminars.
Unique to the festival is something for the children, said Nancy Stewart-Franczak, executive director of Festival Management Group, who is producing the large-scale event.
“Wellington has never had a large event with amusement rides for kids,” she said. “It’s very exciting!”
There will also be live musical entertainment, including the Jeffery James Gang, Colin Axxxwell and Urban Gypsy Music; artists and crafters; backyard games like corn hole; the famous pig race; and those amusement rides the kids will love.
The limited-seating pairing seminars will be on Friday at 6 and 8 p.m.; on Saturday at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at noon. Saturday’s 2 p.m. seminar will be a Buffalo Trace Distillery tasting tour, in which participants will have the opportunity to try the different bourbons produced by the distillery, while pairing them with unique tapas made by Chef Trinette Morris.
The more experienced bourbon sipper will appreciate Saturday’s 8 p.m. seminar, which features five aged Pappy Van Winkle bottles for tasting. Each of the samples pairs with a different meal cooked by Okeechobee Steakhouse Executive Chef Brad Costa.
Costa will also be cooking up brunch the next morning for Sunday’s noon seminar, which will be a specially prepared brunch served with bottomless Bloody Marys.
Seminar participants will learn about the distillery process of the liquor and cocktails they sample, as well as some of the historical roots of bourbon, rye and whiskey. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about the art of pairing given food to its corresponding liquors.
Other local chefs blending up the perfect pairings between bacon foods and bourbon include Dada Executive Chef Bruce Feingold, Dubliner Executive Chef Derek Smyth, Farmer’s Table owner and Chef Joey Giannuzzi, and many others.
All of the pairing seminars hold up to 60 guests, with the exception of the Pappy Van Winkle Tasting during the 8 p.m. Saturday seminar, which will hold up to 20 people. The seminars range in price from $40 to $175.
The Bacon & Bourbon Festival also creates a unique fundraising opportunity for nonprofit organizations. Volunteers at the festival, who play a large role in setting up and cleaning up before and after the event, are awarded fundraising dollars for the number of volunteers and total hours of labor contributed.
Some of the nonprofits that will benefit from the event are the Atlantic High School Band Boosters, Boy Scout Troop 301, the Center for Exceptional Children and the Avenue Church.
Event hours are Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking for the event are free.
There is a shuttle that will transport people from the west or Nordstrom side of the Mall at Wellington Green to the amphitheater, in case available parking runs out.
To purchase tickets for any of the bacon and bourbon pairing seminars, or for more information, visit www.baconbourbonfest.com.