An unlikely series of events began to unfold in 2011 when members of the Iowa Bacon Board, organizers of the famous Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, decided to host a “flash bacon festival” in Iceland. Through an extended network of family and friends, members of the Iowa Bacon Board were introduced to a group of Icelanders who volunteered to help.
On the afternoon of August 5, 2011, the bacon-loving Iowans marched down the historic street of Skólavörðustígur toward the Ófeigur Jewelry Store dressed in matching uniforms with one sporting a mascot pig head. When they arrived outside the jewelry store, they were welcomed by a range of four propane burners (set up by their Icelandic friends). It was there that they proceeded to blast rock music from portable speakers and fry up over 100 lbs of bacon. Needless to say, within minutes the Americans found themselves surrounded by hundreds of new bacon-loving friends. To view video footage from the event click here.
Inspired by the bacon fellowship they witnessed, the Iowa Bacon Board’s new Icelandic friends quickly organized under the Iceland Bacon Board and set out to partner with the Iowans to found the Reykjavik Bacon Festival. Now, in its third year, the Reykjavik Bacon Festival has become the fastest growing food festival in all of Iceland. And, like its sister festival in Iowa, the Reykjavik Bacon Board measures its success not only by how they improve the lives of bacon-lovers, but also how they help the community as a whole. Just last week, proceeds from the festival were donated to The National University Hospital of Iceland to purchase much needed medical equipment and supplies.
In recognition of the growing relationship between Iowa and Iceland, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson invited members of the Iowa Bacon Board to meet with him while attending The World Food Prize in Des Moines, IA yesterday. Brooks Reynolds, chair of the Iowa Bacon Board, recalled the meeting, “The President shared some valuable ideas on how we could improve our bacon festivals – from including more Icelandic fish and lamb to reducing our impact on global climate change. As a board we will consider them all.” Reynolds paused and in a more serious tone continued, “I just hope he considers our idea…‘Wild Icelandic Lamb Bacon’. I mean, put some pants on this one – it has legs!”