Skipping out on the Azalea Festival this weekend? You might want to check out the inaugural Beach, Bacon & Beer Festival presented by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce on Saturday at Carolina Beach Lake Park.
Like its predecessor, the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off, the family-friendly Beach, Bacon & Beer Festival will feature a culinary competition. This friendly competition calls upon the creativity of local chefs to present the most unique and tasty bacon-inspired offering, while attendees are asked to cast their votes for the People’s Choice Awards.
A number of breweries and vineyards will also compete for the People’s Choice – Best Brew or Grape.
The Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off was last held in 2016, ending a 20-year run as the chamber’s summer kick-off event. Pleasure Island Chamber President Greg Reynolds said the chowder cook-off came to end because participation from local restaurants had fallen off in the past several years, in part because of rising seafood costs.
Reynolds and his team spent the past year gathering input from local restaurant owners and looking into how the festival could be re-branded.
“Bacon festivals are growing across the country,” Reynolds said. “So we figured since we produce so much pork here in North Carolina, and also have a growing beer scene, we’d give it a try.”
Reynolds said the festival is starting out small, but he hopes to involve more of the local Pleasure Island Chamber members in the coming years and highlight the island’s culinary offerings.
A partial list of this year’s competitors includes:
- A Thyme Savor Catering - featuring candied bacon with chicken and waffles and a bourbon barrel stout syrup
- Port City Puffs n Stuff - featuring cauliflower, bacon and dill soup and a bacon, chocolate and pretzel puff
- Big Mike's BBQ - featuring baconana pudding
- Tastebuds Popcorn-Carolina Beach featuring maple bacon and cheddar bacon popcorn
- Latella Gelato - featuring bacon butter pecan gelato
- Good Hops Brewing - featuring Andrew Irish Light Ale and Stankey Yankee IPA
- Wrightsville Beach Brewery - featuring Orange Krush Kolsch
- Silver Coast Winery - featuring 2015 Reserve Merlot
Tickets are $5, and each guest will receive complimentary samples while they last. Each participating restaurant may also choose to sell larger portions of the same or similar showcase dishes. There will be a domestic beer tent, a KidZone with inflatables and games and live music by Uptown Easy throughout the day.
Gates will open at 11:30 am with the winners announced at 4:30 pm. Organizers encourage attendees to arrive early as this is a first come, first serve event.
Have a tip for Restaurant Roundup? Email [email protected].