Bacon lovers, rejoice — the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is coming to town. With its full schedule of meat-themed events and contests, this event lives up to its nickname as “The World’s Premier Baconfest.” In fact, more than 14,000 people come to town just for the event. Bring your appetite and enter the bacon-eating contest, or watch the fun at the Bacon Queen and Bacon King crownings, dance contest, and costume contest. Throughout the day, you can rock out to different bands on the festival stage. Keep in mind that this is an adults-only event; it’s open to everyone 21 years and older.
For 2020, the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival took place on Saturday, March 7. The festival hours were from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The festival takes place at the Horizon Events Center. Keep in mind that this center is west of Des Moines in Clive, Iowa. The address is 2100 NW 100th St, Clive, IA 50325.
Get ready for fun — the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is an all-day party. While the 2021 festival has not been scheduled yet, it will likely follow a similar lineup to the 2020 program.
For 2020, the concert lineup started at 11:00 a.m. with the Barberhood Bluegrass Band on the Businessolver Main Stage — grab a cocktail and get ready to dance. At 11:15, Dusty n’ Deep rocks out on the Bacon Fellowship Hall Stage. If you prefer to start the day with a little bit of learning, head to The Aquarium to hear Leo Landis give a talk on the history and cultural impact of bacon.
The Bacon Festival contests start at noon. On the main stage, the Bacon Queen receives her sash. Also at noon, Club Sizzle opens to the public. Pop in to shake your hips during the salsa dancing concert, and stick around to dance to the beats of DJ Xan. At 12:30 p.m., the main stage goes Caribbean with the steel-drum sounds of Tropical Steel.
Serious bacon-lovers know that the costume contest is the place to be at 1:30 p.m. Come in your best getup — it doesn’t have to be bacon-themed — and you could win exciting prizes. Don’t want to dress up? You won’t want to miss the crazy outfits. Or, pop over to Club Sizzle for the hula-hoop contest and music from DJ Bui. At 1:45, the main stage comes to life with a limbo contest. Stick around as Some Friends takes the stage and gets the crowd dancing. Later, there are concerts from 10 Watt Robot, The Snacks, and Mister Black.
The contests keep going throughout the day. If you’re single, the Singled Out dating game might help you meet a fellow bacon-lover. Or, try your chances during the Bacon Duct Tape bike giveaway. Big eaters shouldn’t miss the bacon-eating contest, which happens on the main stage at 3:35. Once you’re stuffed, work off all of that bacon as you dance to the Boat Drunks Jimmy Buffett tribute band.
During all of this fun, the Bacon Festival’s food and drink area has everything you need to stay fortified and ready to go. Try a maple bacon cake ball from Cupcake Addict, or test out bourbon bacon wings from Jethro’s BBQ. You’ll also find everything from street tacos to pizza and macaroni and cheese. Come hungry — you won’t want to miss any of the decadent menu options. Of course, there are also plenty of cocktails on offer.
Since the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is a one-day event, there are no specific RV arrangements. If you want to camp in your RV before and after the festival, you’ll find plenty of great spots around town. Don’t have an RV? Experience the festival camping fun with an RV rental from RVshare.
The closest campground to the Horizon Events Center is Cutty’s Camping Resort, which sits about 5 miles north. With more than 500 sites, lake views, and features like a playground and basketball, this RV park offers plenty of amenities. March in Iowa can be chilly, but don’t worry — Cutty’s features an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, and exercise room to keep you warm.
You could also camp among the trees at Timberline Campground, which is about 9 miles west of the festival home. With free Wi-Fi and a recreational hall, this is a fun option for families. Most sites come with free hookups.
Are you towing or driving a car to Des Moines? Book a site at Griff's Valley View RV Park & Campground; it’s about 20 miles away to the north of the city. With 142 sites with full hookups, this is a great option for big rigs. When the wind is cold, get your workout in at the indoor gym.
Not bringing an RV to the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival? You’ll find a huge selection of hotels within 10 minutes. The biggest concentration of hotels sits just north of the intersection of Interstate 80 and Interstate 235. With options ranging from a Courtyard by Marriott to a Days Inn, there’s something for every budget. The closest hotels to the festival are Hotel Renovo and Revel Hotel Des Moines Urbandale. They’re located just over 1 mile west of the Horizon Events Center on Hickman Road.
Do you want to soak in the culture in Des Moines? You’ll find plenty of fantastic hotels downtown. Some of the most beautiful options offer sweeping views of the Des Moines River; plus, you’ll be just steps from the local restaurants and breweries. From here, your best bet is to drive or catch a ride-share to the festival.
If you’re up for a rustic tent-camping adventure, bring your warmest camping gear and plan to sleep at Yellow Banks Park. Located about an hour from the festival, this is the perfect spot to get off the grid. The campground sits near the spectacular bluffs next to the Des Moines River, making it an ideal option for hiking and wildlife watching. The best part? The main campground is closed during the winter, but you can walk into the tent campsites. While you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for the Native American burial mound.
If you’re driving to the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, hop on Interstate 35 and get off at exit 125. Take Hickman Road east, and you’ll arrive at the Horizon Events Center in less than 2 miles. Interstate 35 is also easy to access directly from Interstate 80.
The Horizon Events Center offers parking, but spots are limited and tend to fill up quickly. The lot is not suited for RVs. If you need to drive your RV to the Bacon Festival, the organizers recommend heading to Valley West Mall. From there, you can hop on one of the free shuttles that run to the festival. The shuttles run continuously on festival day, so it’s a breeze to get a ride to and from the event. Alternatively, you can use a ride-share app.
Tickets for the Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival are $30; this includes $10 in Bacon Bucks, which you can use to buy food and drinks at the event. Want to get in at 10:00 a.m.? Pay $50 for an early admission ticket, which comes with $20 in Bacon Bucks. If you’re bringing a group, you can get a 10-person table for $600. This ensures that you’ll always have a reserved seat; it also comes with $200 in Bacon Bucks. For the 2020 event, tickets were sold online and on-site.
Are you planning to attend the next Des Moines Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival? RVshare would love to hear about your experience! Send your favorite photos and stories to the team at [email protected] Then, keep an eye on RVshare's blog and social media profiles — you might see your photos featured on these accounts.
For more info on the event, follow @BRBaconFest on Facebook.
Please note, this is not the official source of the event information. While we try to be as comprehensive as possible, some details may have changed since the time this article was written. Please confirm final details with the official event page.