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Tulsans ‘pig out’ at Baconfest premiere

Bacon brittle, candied bacon, beef wrapped in bacon, bacon jam, double fudge bacon brownies, dates and blue cheese wrapped in maple bacon, hotdogs and hamburgers topped with bacon, bacon pizza, even bacon flavored snow cones. Feel your cholesterol levels rising yet?

On Sunday, Sept. 29, The Nightingale Theater held Tulsa’s first ever Baconfest in the Pearl District on 4th Street. The outdoor event ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured tastings from locally owned restaurants, bacon-themed contests, live music, and prizes for those attending.

The Nightingale Theater held the festival to raise funds for a new roof.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is walking into the theater and not having to mop the floor,” Amber Whitlach, co-owner of Nightingale Theater, said. “They are benefiting an absolute Tulsa gem.”

The expectation for the event was about 600 people, but many more ended up attending. The tickets sold out an hour into the event.

“I love the response,” Whitlach said. “You say ‘Baconfest’ and everyone goes ‘Whaaat?! Baconfest!?’ As a marketing person, I live for that moment.”

The idea came from a bacon festival that Whitlach and Baconfest Tulsa Director Sara Cruncleton attended a few years ago.

“I thank the genius who came up with it first,” Cruncleton said. “The only thing really similar is the tasting aspect. We have come up with our own creative spins on it.”

Some of those “creative spins” were a bacon look-alike contest, a bacon haiku contest, and an amateur bacon cooking contest for the attendees.

Also, the attendees voted on each vendor to see who the Boss Hog of Baconfest Tulsa 2013 was. The winner, Dugan Jacks Smokehouse, actually ran out of food for tastings two hours into the event. They received a plaque to display in their restaurant to show off their new title.

Besides a belly full of bacon, those attending got to take home a goodie bag of special offers from the businesses as well as “baconfest swag” that included stickers, tattoos and even floss to get that “bacony goodness” stuck between your teeth.

“Baconfest swag” clothing and other items were also available at

Cruncleton said that even though there were many difficulties in planning this first Baconfest, she is sure this is likely to become an annual event.

“We learned a lot, and have taken a lot of notes for next year,” Cruncleton said.

Everyone’s cholesterol may have increased on Sunday, but so did the theater’s building funds. The love for bacon stays strong in Tulsa, and Baconfest 2013 was proof of that.

“[I] had a great time this morning,” Chad McNamar, an attendee of Baconfest, said. “Got my fill of bacony goodness. Well worth the two hour drive from OKC.”

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