Wait, did I read that correctly — there will be no Country Ham Festival in Spring Hill this year?
Sadly, it’s true. After a 14-year run the annual festival will not return this October. Attendance, weather, or location are not the issue — all of those features have been positive. Instead, the popular festival became just too labor intensive for its volunteer executive director, Andy Meldrum.
Parenting a festival
If you’re a parent you know how rewarding but also exhausting and consuming it is to raise a child. And then somewhere around your angel’s 14th year you wake up to discover you are parenting an alien. And you are ready to either A) resign as parenting director, B) send the creature back to Planet Crazy, or C) hand him/her off to a volunteer committee until graduation from college. (After all, if “it takes a village to raise a child” then surely it takes an entire city block to raise a teenager.)
So, I completely understand that Andy needs a break from parenting an adolescent festival. But what about the gaping cultural hole left by the absence of the outdoor gala celebrating thin slabs of heavily salted pork? Is there anything that could possibly take its place?
Bankin’ on bacon
YES! — an outdoor gala celebrating thin strips of heavily salted pork.
That’s right; I’m proposing the 2019 Spring Hill Bacon Festival, an event that will celebrate all things bacon and draw bacon fanatics and addicts from all over the world to our Tennessee hamlet.
I’ve narrowed down the possible themes for the 2019 festival:
“Everything’s Better with Bacon”
“Bacon: The Other Red Meat”
“Bacon There, Done That”
“Make America Great Again with Bacon”
“Give Me Bacon or Give Me Death”
“Bacon: It’s Not Just for Dessert”
In addition to food vendors offering everything from chocolate-dipped bacon to A-Pound-of-Bacon-on-a-Stick, there will be merchandise booths selling bacon-themed t-shirts, hats, swimwear, lingerie, and cologne. Always popular is bacon-themed art including framed prints, pottery, and sculptures.
Contests, parades, and a celebrity Grand Marshal
There will be a bacon fry-off, bacon eating contest, bacon recipe contest, and a bacon costume contest. Because everyone loves a parade, I’ve already secured Hormel to sponsor The Popular Pork Parade down Main Street. I’m currently in talks with a major Hollywood celebrity to be the grand marshal for the parade. Are you ready for this? Kevin Bacon!
I know, I know; I haven’t been this excited since I tasted maple and brown sugar-baked bacon for the first time at a bed & breakfast inn in Vermont.
There’ll be live music from a bacon tribute band out of Georgia called the Macon Bacon Band; and they’ll be singing some of their greatest hits like “Burnt Bacon Blues” and “Don’t Come Home with Bacon on Your Breath and Lovin’ on Your Mind.”
I got my degree in bacon management
The entire event will be non-stop rollicking fun, but I also want this festival to be an educational experience. So there will be workshops and seminars with experts speaking on such topics as:
“How to Spot Artificial Bacon Bits on a Salad Bar”
“Canadian Bacon is Just a Longer Word for Ham”
“12 Lies About Bacon the Liberal Media Want You to Believe”
“Help! I’m a Vegan in Love with Bacon”
“Bacon Wrapping is Not a Musical Genre … Yet”
“Turkey Bacon and Other Blasphemies”
“Why Sausage Just Can’t Compete”
“The Healing Powers of Bacon”
“101 Uses for Congealed Bacon Grease”
“Mixed Marriage: How to Love Someone Who Doesn’t Love Bacon”
Ready to Serve
I read this week that Spring Hill’s mayor and aldermen are looking for interested residents to serve on a newly formed Spring Hill Tourism Council. I can’t recall having read or heard the words “Spring Hill” and “tourism” in the same sentence before now but we should probably get ready to become the next Orlando once the new Chick-fil-A opens.
And as the founder and executive director of the 2019 Spring Hill Bacon Festival, a guaranteed tourist magnet and economy booster, it would be selfish on my part not to be a team player and serve on the council. I just hope that the widening of Duplex Road is completed before Pirate Land and Goofy Golf opens next to Pappa Pedro’s — a unique Mexican pizza restaurant combining the two cuisines that Spring Hill apparently just can’t get enough of.