This past Saturday, Wausau Events hosted their second annual Beer & Bacon Festival at Fern Island. Rolling up to a beer and bacon buffet extravaganza, is there a better way for this Cheesehead to spend a warm September day? I think not! So, of course, I budgeted for tickets this month!
This year I went with my friend (and caregiver), Randy. We met Randy’s wife, Diane, and his son, Seth there. Outdoor festivals by nature are usually quite accessible. So Fern Island is quite accessible with the exception of a few trails and small bridges. The Beer & Bacon Festival was set up in the most accessible area of Fern Island, was a large open grassy area. Saturday was unseasonably hot, with temps in the low 90’s. However, there were shady areas to escape the frying-pan blazing sun.
There were a lot of beer vendors and a lot of beer drinkers! Unfortunately for me, gluten free beer is my only option these days, so I was limited in what I could sample. I taste tested 3 different gluten free hard ciders. The first one was CiderBoys Raspberry Smash. A smash hit with me! Loved It! I then sampled Pear Cider from Angry Orchard. Wah! Wah! Wah! Wahhh! Fail! Not a fan at all. I am a beer lover. However, I am not a beer chugger. Beer nurser fits me to a tee. As a result, my beer or cider must taste good at room temperature! Consequently, the Pear Cider did not pass the room temperature test. So I switched back to CiderBoys and tried the Grand Mimosa. This orange-apple flavored cider came in a close second.
Now moving on to the bacon table… Before the Beer & Bacon Festival, I have never met a piece of bacon I did not like. After the Beer & Bacon Festival, I still have yet to meet a piece of bacon I did not like or want to take home with me! All the bacon themed samples were awesome. The heavenly bacon buffet included hickory smoked bacon, bacon kabobs, pepper bacon, raspberry bacon, peanut butter bacon ice cream, bacon jalapeno sausage, bacon cheddar popcorn and much more. Let’s just say, I ate a lot of bacon…ALOT! My arteries were squealing! (pun intended). Luckily for me, my doctor did not attend this year!
What is better than a Beer & Bacon Festival? Hanging out with fellow beer & bacon fanatics, of course! This year, the crowd was very considerate and fun-loving. At one point I was, or should I say my wheelchair was, holding up the line. Luckily, I did not fall victim to a bacon lover stampede. The beer was free flowing, so the crowd was pretty chillaxed. Well…loud and chillaxed at the same time. I ran into former neighbors who I have not seen in years.
The Spicy Tie Band added to the experience with some good ole rock music. It is always fun to watch people dance and have a good time. Add in a few beers and the entertainment factor increases!
Although the grounds were accessible, the restroom facilities were not. I did not see any wheelchair accessible port-a-potties. However, to be quite honest, I forgot to look. I do not look anymore because I do not find the accessible port-a-potties accessible. They may be larger and say they are accessible. However, there is no way I can fit my chair in one, much less a caregiver.
There is one more accessibility issue with the Beer & Bacon Festival. It is expensive. Advanced tickets can be purchased for as little as $30 (ouch). However, if you wait till the last minute, like I did, they will set you back $40! Additionally, there is a special designated driver ticket for $15. On my budget, this takes planning and saving. However, I do have to say, it is well worth the once a year expense.
The “Beer” aspect of this festival makes this a 21 and older only event. As a result, this is not a family friendly event. Quite honestly, sometimes it is nice to hang out at a park in the middle of the day with just adults.
Overall, the 2017 Beer & Bacon Festival was a smashing success. I did not think they could beat last years event, but Wausau Events met and achieved this feat! If the price of the tickets is the only thing preventing you from attending this Beer & Bacon utopia, start saving now! If you put away 11 cents a day…yes, only 11 cents…you will have $40.15 to splurge on a ticket!
I need to give a huge shout out and thanks to Sara Wolfe and Jeff Gresser for allowing me to use their awesome photos! I was in such a bacon fog, I forgot to take pictures!
Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’