On July 22 and 23, Downtown Springfield, Inc. and Isringhausen Imports plus other festival sponsors will transform downtown Springfield into a bacon-lovers paradise for the second year in a row during DSI’s Bacon Throwdown II. While the possibility of future food “Throwdown” events is strong, this is likely to be the last bacon-themed Throwdown, so don’t miss your chance to sample some of the craziest and tastiest variations on bacon around. The festival runs from 5 p.m. through midnight on Friday and noon through 10 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets and more information will be available June 1 at http://downtownspringfield.org.
DSI’s Bacon Throwdown II will feature food items by vendors and bacon masters, which will be available for tasting by attendees, who will be able to vote for their favorite bacon-themed delicacy. The bacon masters will compete for bragging rights in the Bacon Battle Royal (which features trophies “baconized” with Bacon Duct Tape) and the traveling skillet award. Last year’s winner was Julia Hunter, proprietor and operator of the now-shuttered Julia’s Kitchen, with her bacon-wrapped macaroni and cheese. Will Julia, now general manager of Hy-Vee, retain her title for good?
Bacon isn’t all you’ll find at this sizzling summer festival. Other highlights include free children’s activities and live music. While adults chow down, children will enjoy a petting zoo, bounce houses, face painting, entertainment, local artists and more. As for music, DSI has partnered with NPR Illinois’ 91.9 UIS Bedrock 66 Live! concert series to offer a stellar lineup of musicians both nights of the Throwdown. Formed in 2008, the Bedrock 66 Live! concert series hand-picks some of the lesser-known yet critically acclaimed roots, country, rockabilly, blues and garage rock artists from all across the country and brings them to central Illinois to play an intimate concert. The performances are recorded in front of a live audience and broadcast on NPR Illinois at a later date.
Friday night’s music begins at 6 p.m., and features local Americana group Western Empire, Motel Mirrors featuring John Paul Keith, host of “Made in Memphis” on NPR’s Music Worldwide and headliner Aaron Lee Tasjan, a rock-and-roll songwriter from East Nashville, Tennessee. Saturday’s performers include Springfield residents and winners of the American Songwriter magazine 30th anniversary song contest The Deep Hollow plus Americana-songwriter Tim Shelton followed by the groovy rhythms of Reed Turchi and The Caterwauls. American-country music singer-songwriter Nikki Lane takes the stage at 8 p.m., and Lee Bains III and “real Alabama rock-and-rollers” The Glory Fires close out the evening with an electrifying set at 9:45 p.m. The full list of set times is available online by visiting DSI’s Bacon Throwdown II Facebook event page. For more information about the Bedrock 66 Live! concert series, visit http://bedrock66.com. –Nan Bulli