Bacon Town sets American Record
Monday, August 25, 2014
Article By: Ottumwa Courier | Patrick Shelby
OTTUMWA — The inaugural “Bacon Town! Bacon & Brew Fest 2014” was an American record-breaking event of community pride and industry achievement at the Bridge View Center Saturday night.
At 3:35 p.m., about 85 Cargill volunteers and family members assembled a 585-foot-long bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in seven minutes and 35 seconds, making the first-ever bacon festival a prestigious and recognized event. Sandwich-building team members used more than 400 pounds of bacon in establishing the new record as area residents cheered them on.
“It’s exciting that we’re all here together and sharing in this record-setting moment. USA’s longest BLT is all of our record to enjoy,” declared Zena Boyd, Cargill Continuous Improvement staff member.
Free slices of the record-shattering sandwich were exchanged for any non-perishable food item for the Southern Iowa Food Bank.
Cargill’s sponsorship allowed organizers to host an admission-free celebration of everything bacon and brew related, which featured culinary-themed food samples from regional chefs and specialty handcrafted offerings from Midwest breweries for a small charge.
“There’s not an empty parking space out there, and the community support has been incredible. Attendance throughout the day has in the neighborhood of 1,500 to 2,000 people,” said Joe Milledge, owner of the KIIC radio station and event co-sponsor.
Community 1st Credit Union’s Kid Zone was an entertainment destination from the time Bridge View doors opened until the children’s area closed at 6 p.m. The free, onsite attraction included face painting, cake walk, a train ride and fun-filled activities.
North Hy-Vee’s “Pork on Pork Balls,” prepared by Jeremy Weller of Kiwanis Club barbecue fame, were a popular menu tasting item at Bacon Town’s inviting sidewalk gardenscape and relaxed atmosphere.
“On behalf of North Hy-Vee, I created a recipe using their Italian ground sausage and sliced bacon, smoked over hickory wood for two hours and basted with Blue’s Hog Barbecue Sauce for the last 30 minutes,” revealed Weller.
Headlining the musical showcase of local talent Saturday evening was "Rowdie" Mitch Goudy, who rests his hat in Bloomfied when he’s not on the road or splitting time living in Nashville, Tennessee. As one of the Country Music Association’s “Who's New to Watch" artists for 2014, the 19-year-old performer has two Top 100 hit songs on the country charts.
“My dad used to take me to the Wapello County Fairgrounds, and he was the soundman over there, so I got to see country acts every summer, and it had a major affect on me,” explained Goudy.
Hailey Miller, 17, an aspiring professional singer and songwriter, attended the bacon festival with her dad to cheer on and support Goudy, a Facebook friend and musical colleague who has watched his official music video, “Ain’t My Fault,” on YouTube.
“I have a Facebook page for my music, and I chatted with him being from the area, and he wrote back telling me, 'Don’t give up on your dreams,'” stated Miller. “Diana Upton-Hill was my choir teacher in the Creative Ottumwa Vocal Arts program, and she has a great voice.”
Sue Richardson, Goudy’s former elementary school music teacher, prior to her taking a seat with an unobstructed view of the stage, recalled how the spirited student would playfully sing using a monotone voice in class.
“This is my first time hearing Mitch on stage. He’s played locally before, but I haven’t been able to attend until now, and I am really excited to watch him perform,” exclaimed Richardson.
“Rowdie” Goudy, along with Diana Upton-Hill and the talented band, ignited the Bacon Town audience to fill the streets with a rocking, county attitude and close the festival on a high note of squealing success.
“Right now we’re in the process of releasing a new album called, ‘Rowdie.’ We have support from some awesome industry people, and we have two songs in the top 100. So I am out on radio tours all the time, playing shows and am also producing and playing most of the instruments on my album,” informed Goudy.
“Bacon Town! Bacon & Brew Fest 2014” established Ottumwa’s claim to fame in bridging a river of opportunity in celebrating the town's pork-producing heritage with community flavor and award-winning accomplishment.
— Patrick Shelby is a staff writer and photographer for the Ottumwa Courier and be reached at email@example.com