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Bacon is star of Kishwaukee Fest event

Published: Saturday, July 27, 2013 6:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:46 p.m. CDT
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Seth Wickens-Walther, 11, of Boy Scout Troop 33 serves hungry customers chocolate-dipped bacon on Saturday during BaconPalooza at the Frank Van Buer Plaza in downtown DeKalb, as part of Kishwaukee Fest.

DeKALB – Sycamore resident Brett Duffield woke up on Saturday, ate bacon for breakfast and then biked ten miles to the Van Buer Plaza in downtown DeKalb for Kishwaukee Fest’s BaconPalooza.

A self-professed bacon lover, Duffield planned to eat enough of the salty pork strips to burn it all off during his bike ride home.

“It’s good for every meal,” he said.

BaconPalooza, which featured numerous vendors, a Corvette show and a musical performance by the Stage Coach Players, marked the final weekend of Kishwaukee Fest. 

Participants ate chocolate-covered bacon, bacon doughnuts and BLT sandwiches.

BaconPalooza organizer Michael Embrey said the event’s purpose was to support downtown businesses. Some festival attendees also stopped by specialty shops like Moxie and Cracker Jax, he said.

“I have this philosophy of tourism versus eventism,” Embrey said. “Eventism is when you create a special event. People are going to come.”

DeKalb resident Rhonda Koach was one of those people. She heard about the festival from a flier her husband received in the mail.

Dressed in a Northern Illinois University windbreaker, Koach said there were fewer people at the festival than she had expected. She speculated that the chilly weather deterred some people from attending.

BaconPalooza ran for about six hours, so organizers expected people to walk through and come and go as they pleased, said Susan Johnson, Kishwaukee Fest parade chairman.

“Every year, it has grown and changed,” Johnson said. “It’s a great variety for DeKalb County to see the things going on in the community.”

Boy Scout Troop 33 treasurer Tara Keith was busy the entire time cooking bacon-wrapped hot dogs and bacon and cheese hamburgers. She said the troop was so busy that a few of the Boy Scouts had to go back to the store and buy more hamburgers.

“We’ve been swamped,” she said as she added more hot dogs to the grill.

Cassie’s Popcorn owner Cassie Oltman said the past week has been the busiest for her popcorn stand since it started business at Van Buer Plaza in September. She said her special of the week, bacon caramel popcorn, has been selling out every day.

“A lot of people come back for more,” she said.

Embrey is already looking forward to improving BaconPalooza for next year.

“The concept is to promote community events and activities that citizens and out-of-towners can enjoy,” he said. “If you were out of town [shopping here] and you saw bacon and cars, you’d say, ‘Well, this is fun.’ You stepped out, and a party happened.”

For more information, visit www.kishwaukeefest.com.

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