CHICAGO — The city's insatiable demand for Baconfest this year has prompted an extra evening full of pig-themed delicacies as well as a preview week for 2014, organizers said.
Chicago's sixth annual Baconfest will include a dinner on April 25, and lunch and dinner on April 26, according to fest organizers. As in previous years, the event will take place at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road.
Organizers said ticket prices will remain the same — $100 for general admission and $200 for VIP. In February, tickets for this year's fest sold out in less than an hour.
About 3,000 people descended on the UIC Forum in April to enjoy such items as bacon Bloody Marys, peanut butter and bacon bread pudding, pork belly sandwiches, BLTs and more.
This year, more restaurants participated in the event than ever before, Baconfest co-founder Seth Zurer said, and expanding the festival to include an extra dinner means being able to accommodate even more chefs.
Also new next year, organizers plan to add what they're calling "Bacon Week Chicago" — a week leading up to the fest that will include a cocktail kickoff party featuring "master Bacon Mixologists," a bacon cocktail tour, Baconfest past masters kickoff dinner and neighborhood bacon crawls.
Yes, neighborhood bacon crawls.
"We're looking to keep making Chicago a bacon headquarters during the month of April," Zurer said.
More details about "Bacon Week Chicago" should be available as the fest finalizes the list of restaurants that plan to participate, which Zurer said he expects to happen in February.
Zurer said he's envisioned the cocktail tour as a way for bars and restaurants to feature bacon-themed drinks that patrons can taste at each location.
"We keep thinking of ways to make Baconfest available to folks who don't get tickets," Zurer said.
Baconfest is also planning to expand its partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which usually gets a portion of ticket sales each year. Baconfest restaurants will be invited to put a bacon dish on their menu for the month of April and donate a portion of sales to the depository.
Zurer said the expansion wasn't something he and the other festival planners planned from the beginning, but they realized it was almost necessary due to the "enormous demand" for tickets.
"We never expected Baconfest to become the juggernaut that it is now."