By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The festivities for Belton’s inaugural Bacon, Brews, and Blues two-day event kicked off Friday evening with food trucks and live music provided by the 1st Cavalry Brass Band and Texas Flood.
The City of Belton partnered with HEB for host this event, and nine teams were given 20 pounds of bacon, donated by the Belton HEB. The bacon-themed dishes debuted to attendees on Saturday as samples were handed out and judging took place.
Judy Garrett, Belton’s Tourism Manager, and Regional Development Coordinator, was the event planner.
“I wanted to do something to bring more tourism to downtown Belton. We wanted to introduce Belton to more people. I googled some events and found a bacon bash in Wisconsin that seemed to be successful. I called them and talked to the event planners about their event,” explained Garrett. “After talking to the folks in Wisconsin, we tossed some ideas around here and decided to host our own bacon event. Everyone loves bacon!”
Sultry blues, provided by Jay White and The Blues Commanders, filled the air Saturday afternoon. White, a Belton native, has been playing music for many years. Life responsibilities drew him in other directions as he raised his children and got them through school.
“I grew up here, played football here, and graduated from Belton High School. It’s great to have the opportunity to perform here today – this is a historical, inaugural event,” said White. “I stepped away from music for a little while, but I feel like it’s what God has called me to do. We are performing at The Gin next Saturday. It’s unusual for me to have back-to-back gigs in my hometown.”
The brews for this weekend were provided by Barrow Brewing, of Salado. Jack Shuff is a brewer at Barrow Brewing, and he describes the brewing process as a delicate balance.
“We are here serving four brews that are made in Salado. Belton is a fantastic town and this event – wow! Bacon, brews, and blues – what a perfect combination,” exclaimed Shuff.
“HEB does a lot to support our community, and when Judy (Garrett) approached me with the idea of this event, I was more than happy to help out. We made sure to donate the good stuff – the teams were given our distinctive HEB branded bacon. This contributed to keeping everyone on a level playing field,” explained Eric Tovar, HEB General Manager. “The town of Belton supports HEB a lot, and we are honored to be able to help them in return.”
Donna Shott, a bacon enthusiast, was overjoyed with the novelty and success of the Bacon, Brews, and Blues event.
“I love today! God bless HEB for always taking care of us. I thought the bacon pie was going to be gross, but it was brilliant,” exclaimed Shott.
All nine teams worked hard to create a bacon-inspired dish that would wow the crowd and help them bring home the $2,000 prize.
Ara Yauk was the creative mind behind the trio of bacon dishes made by the Grand Avenue Theater team.
“We’ve got the sweet tooth and the meat tooth going on today! Yauk came up with the ideas for the dishes, and we are helping him out. His recipe for wrapping candied bacon around a honey sriracha wing was original,” said Daniel Bucher, with Grand Avenue Theater.
Melvin Lowe, the owner of Lowe’s Legs, has been in the food truck business for 15 years. His entries for the bacon-themed cook-off involved putting a bacon spin on his classic dishes.
“Today, we have bacon-wrapped turkey and chicken legs, bacon wrapped-sausage, and bacon wrapped ribs. I enjoy watching people walking around, sampling different dishes. This is my first cook-off ever, and it sure is a lot of work,” stated Lowe.
The first place prize, a coveted $2,000 check, went to the Belton Expo Quik Stop. For a first-time event, Bacon, Brews, and Blues was a huge success. Many participants and attendees expressed a desire for this to become an annual event.