Hogs N Hops: Bacon Beer Bands!
By David DeRocco
Funny thing about diet fads: you can use them to justify any food choice. Take the new ketogenic or “keto” diets sweeping North America. On a low-carb high-fat diet plan like keto, bacon suddenly becomes your friend! It’s something you might want to know before you head out for a weekend bacon binge at Niagara’s newest festival: HOGS & HOPS – BACON, BEER AND BANDS!
August 10th and 11th, the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines hosts the inaugural HOGS & HOPS festival, a two-day event where “makin’ bacon” and drinking craft beer are the primary focus of activity.
“We were in touch with the Meridian Centre last year trying to do something here,” said David MacDonald, spokesperson for event organizers, Ace Productions. “The Meridian Centre came up with the bacon component. We did some research and found there was nothing like it in the area. There are other bacon street festivals, but nothing like this one.”
Nearly a dozen craft breweries will be on site all weekend to provide perfect pairings for the plethora of pork products provided at HOGS & HOPS, along with live music performed by Bad To The Bone’s George Thorogood tribute and new country with Southern Belle. But this festival is really about one thing, and MacDonald says that despite the absence of a bacon-dress fashion show, there will be ample opportunity to discover new things you can do with this magnificent meat product.
“For starters, we’ve got a bacon eating contest,” said MacDonald, whose company also organizes the Canadian Ice Fishing Expo and the Christmas at Blue Mountain event. “We’ve got everything from great food appetizers like bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers to gourmet choices. Chef Erin from the Meridian Centre will be putting together some pretty high-end items. Niagara College will be on site doing pairings with craft beer and culinary food demos. You can find out how to make bacon from scratch and candied bacon. There’s a lot going on all weekend.”
If bacon’s not your thing but you’re still into beer and bands, MacDonald says Niagara College will also be serving vegan and vegetarian options to ensure there’s something for everyone. As a first time event, organizers want to make sure they cover all bases in the hopes of reaching their attendance goals.
“A dream would be to have about 3000 to 3500 people attend,” said MacDonald. “We expect between 2500 and 3000. We’ve got some great giveaways from Leons, and some barbecues compliments of our title sponsor Enviro-Niagara who have been a pleasure to work with. It should be a good weekend.”
Hogs and Hops – Bacon Beer Bands runs 6:00 – 11:00pm Saturday and 12:00 – 5:00pm Sunday. Advance tickets are $25 at Ticketmaster and $30 at the gate. Admission includes a souvenir beer mug, four drink tokens and entry for prizes. Visit hogsnhops.ca for full festival details.