Moveable Feast, the moveable force behind the San Jose Taco Festival, has organized another themed food truck event: the San Jose Bacon Festival of America.
Before Ryan Sebastian, co-owner of Moveable Feast and Treatbot, decided to create San Jose Bacon Festival of America, a large-scale food truck event themed entirely around bacon, he was leaning toward doing a sriracha festival, since everyone around here, he figured, had tried sriracha at some point, thus making it an instantly recognizable, fun themed event. Only problem, he learned, is that although most people may visually recognize sriracha, few knew it by name. (For the record, sriracha is the red hot sauce with the rooster on the label found at nearly every Asian restaurant.)
So Sebastian went with something even more recognizable: bacon.
AUGUST 30: UPDATE: Here’s the “bacon team” lineup for the San Jose Bacon Festival of America:
Cluck It Up
Eat on Monday
Fish Taco Wabo
Grilled Cheese Bandits
House of Siam
Me So Hungry
O Mi Ninja
Pacific Coast Highway
Rocko’s Chocolate Tacos
Takoz Mod Mex
After the success of Sebastian’s other food truck event, San Jose Taco Festival, which celebrated its second year last May, he was looking for a secondary event that would be even easier to promote. Bacon seemed the obvious choice.
“We wanted to do something that was a no-brainer. We’ve done very little marketing for bacon festival. We’ve been extremely lax about promoting the event because the response is through the roof. Someone says they’re going to go and five people comment on their Facebook post, like ‘I want to go too!’” Sebastian says.
In other words, bacon is popular.
For a lot of attendees, all they need to know about the San Jose Bacon Festival of America, is that there will be bacon—and lots of it, but there is so much more to Sebastian’s bacon festival than just bacon. Like Taco Festival, which plays on Mexican themes, bringing in Mexican wrestling rings and air accordion contests, the bacon festival is also a tongue-and-cheek cultural heritage festival, but this time it’s old timey America.
“We’ve been wanting to do this very Americana, state fair theme that I personally like. I love parades and stuff like that. Bacon goes perfect with that. The joke is that we’re trying to make a festival that is nostalgic for a time that never really existed,” Sebastian explains. “I’m glad I live in this time. The past wasn’t necessarily best for everyone. So I think it would be great to celebrate it, while having a huge diverse group of people come in to the festival.”
There will even be square-dancing. Most people attending bacon festival presumably have never square danced before. The goofy, over-the-top nature of the festival almost gives people who would never otherwise seek it out a free pass to give it a try.
“Square dancing is a legitimate form of cultural expression. I think we should at least try and expose it and get people to try and participate,” Sebastian says. “We’ll have marching bands and a petting zoo and some other fun kinds of things that in some parts of the country would be really normal. In San Jose they almost became kind of exotic. Pin the tail on the donkey isn’t played very much. We’re looking at this as a fun, retrograde event with marching bands and kazoos and bacon.”
Sebastian’s vision goes even beyond creating a fun Americana-bacon themed event; he wants to breathe new life into the very notion of what a food festival experience can be. The key is to make the guests more active participants in the activities and to create unexpected experiences.
“It’s a lot different than the typical festival, where there’s posters of dolphins and a classic rock band. If you go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, it costs $17 to get in. People sit and kind of listen to the music, but maybe not. We’re trying to break that whole model,” Sebastian says.
At Bacon Festival, the marching bands, for instance, will be playing in the crowd. And if they happen to play a song you like, there will be thousands of kazoos lying around for anyone to pick up and join the band if they so desire.
“We’re trying to innovate and really try to make these a unique experience. It’s not going to feel like your typical festival,” Sebastian says.
Of course the Bacon festival is at its core a food truck festival. All the vendors will be either food trucks or mobile carts. They are not required to have bacon in every dish, though no doubt there will be plenty of bacon items to choose from. The only rule the vendors have to adhere to is that no dish can be over five dollars—that way people can afford to try several items without spending a fortune. There will be over twenty food trucks, and a lot of them will offering food they don’t normally sell, both with and without bacon.
“It’s going to be a mix of different things. For some people, they may not want to eat five pounds of bacon in one sitting, or at least one day. There’s going to be a lot of different options,” Sebastian says.
Marching bands won’t be the only form of live music at Bacon Festival as several local bands are also scheduled to play. So far the lineup includes Sweet HayaH, Usurper Vong, Dreams of June and Relapse.