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It's a bacon bonanza at Iowa festival

Thousands attended the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival this weekend, which celebrates all things associated with bacon in Des Moines. Events included lectures, eating contests, and a bacon queen pageant. 

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Bonnie, a Berkshire breed pig about 2 1/2 months old, waits for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to pardon her outside the governor's mansion Friday, in Des Moines, Iowa. The pardon is a first for the governor and a celebration of the annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival that begins this weekend at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Barbara Rodriguez/AP

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The smell of bacon was in the air Saturday as thousands converged on Iowa's capital city for an increasingly popular festival celebrating all things connected with the meat.

Some people wore Viking hats and others walked around with makeshift snouts for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. The annual event featured more than 10,000 pounds of bacon served in unusual ways, such as chocolate-dipped bacon and bacon-flavored cupcakes and gelato.

"I love bacon more than I love my job," said Katie Nordquist, who was dressed in a tuxedo T-shirt that looked like bacon Saturday for her first time at the festival.

 

And there was a lot of bacon to choose from. The smell of unique concoctions like bacon gumbo and chocolate bacon bourbon tarts wafted through one of two buildings at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The other building had an Iceland theme, with a Viking boat and Icelandic dishes with bacon, to honor a group of delegates visiting from the country.

Urbandale resident Mike Vogel showed up for a fourth year wearing a head-to-toe bacon costume. He said a widespread love for bacon is the reason about 8,000 tickets to the event sold out in just over three minutes.

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