Anticipation sizzles for ISU bacon convention


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

An Iowa State Student shows off his bacon outfit after the fashion show at Bacon Expo on Oct. 19.

Chrissy Dittmer

An exciting event is cooking in Ames this weekend.

Bacon Expo, the only student-organized bacon event in the U.S., is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center.

The event will feature a live animal display, food samples and meat fabrication, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the pork industry, and how it gets from “gate to plate,” a message being emphasized this year.

A committee of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Council representatives puts the expo together. Megan Pieters, tri-chair for the Bacon Expo, said the chairs are assigned from CALS Council, and others are allowed to apply for the committee.

Not all students involved are in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, however.

“The majority are CALS students, but we really are interdisciplinary,” said Hannah Darr, tri-chair of the Bacon Expo. “It’s been an all-university effort.”

Sarah Delhotal, tri-chair, said the Expo team consists of about 90 students split into three categories: the executive board, committee members and bacon corps. 

“The intent of Bacon Expo is like the intent of Iowa State,” Pieters said. “It’s very family and education oriented.”

Because Iowa is the No. 1 pork-producing state, using the bacon craze for education about the pork industry made sense, Delhotal added.

“It’s easy to go to the store and buy bacon and forget about the process,” said Katlyn Kahler, public relations co-chair.

Delhotal agreed, pointing out that visitors can learn about the growth process of hogs by checking out the roughly 15-pound animals in the live display, as well as the retail meat cuts at the meat fabrication display.

“If you’re not from an ag background, check out the live display,” Pieters said, adding that there will be students at the display trained to answer questions that visitors may have.

While education is a big aspect of this year’s Bacon Expo, actual bacon will be available as well.

Samples will be run on a punch card system, Kahler said. Each card will be good for five samples and cost $3.

“Visitors can purchase as many as they want,” she added.

There will be some interesting foods showcased this year, including jalapeño wrapped bacon from the Horticulture Club, bacon cupcakes, Bar-B-Que bacon and bacon cheese curds.

Bacon Expo has two title sponsors, Iowa Select Farms and Elanco, as well as about a dozen outside vendors.

Delhotal said many clubs are also involved, some of which received donations from companies that couldn’t attend.

After getting a bacon cupcake and learning about retail pork cuts, visitors to the expo will have the chance to see some entertainment including a bacon eating contest and the finals for Bacon Voice, a singing competition.

“The meaning behind the event makes us really excited to host it,” Darr said.

Darr also noted the Bacon Expo is a non-profit organization with philanthropic goals. Food left over from the event will be donated to Food at First, a local food bank. Pieters said the hogs in the live display will also be donated to an FFA chapter.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online ahead of time for $8 through MidwestTix, or the day of for $12. Tickets at the door will be limited.

For more information about Bacon Expo, visit

For those who enjoy the pork product, Kahler adds, “You can’t be angry with bacon.”