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Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest: Florida's Premier Bourbon Event

With average temperatures around 80°F during March, there are few better warm weather winter destinations than Delray Beach, Florida. The city has a rich and storied history that dates back to its founding by U.S. Congressman William S. Linton in 1894. He originally named the town Linton after himself, but that was short lived because in 1898 he left town. The U.S. Post Office renamed the town Delray and it hasn't looked back. Now Delray Beach is home to over 65,000 people and is part of the Miami Metropolitan Area.  


If sunshine, white sand beaches and unique activities intrigue you, then Delray Beach is the ideal location for you. Cool to the touch, the beaches here are primarily composed of quartz, giving you a comfortable surface to walk on no matter the air temperature. Other activities you’ll find under the sun here include: sailing, kayaking, fishing, playing beach games, sunbathing, diving, snorkeling and much more. You’ll also find that Delray Beach has a diversified collection of restaurants, bars and clubs, that will turn an average night into a unforgettable one. To get the full scope of this great city, try going to one of the large community events like the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest, which is held each March.  


Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest is a newer event that is heading into its second year of existence. The festival has already attracted a huge following and is highly anticipated by thousands. Here you’ll find one of Florida's largest collection of delicious foods and spirits to sample and enjoy. In addition to the food, bourbon, and friendly faces, there will also be a series of seminars tackling topics from whiskey and food pairing to distilling spirits. Bring a new level of enjoyment to your next Florida excursion and head to the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest for a great experience. We got the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Stewart-Franczak, Certified Festival and Events Executive for Festival Management Group, Inc., to talk about the event.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

NSF: The 2nd Annual Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest is scheduled for March 18 & 19, 2016. We are celebrating the most loved food in the universe, Bacon, and the quintessential American liquor, Bourbon. This year we are expecting around 10,000 people in attendance, with millennials, couples, and groups of friends making up the majority of our audience.


The two-day event features four-course Bacon & Bourbon dinners each night and our famous Saturday Brunch. Also, we have great live music, an eclectic menu of bacon infused culinary delights, and a collection of over 40 bourbons and whiskeys for your tasting pleasure. For those of you not interested in bourbon, we will have a few fine wines and Heineken Light available.


The Fest also offers participants extensive bacon and bourbon pairing seminars including an exclusive Pappy Van Winkle tasting. The distiller’s art and patented techniques are shared in the seminars and tastings by South Florida’s foremost bourbon experts. All the activities are intended to enhance your knowledge and pleasure of American made bourbon and whiskey. Plus, we will throw an Irish whiskey or rye into the mix for historical purposes.


RAL: What makes the event unique?

NSF: It’s an intimate setting like a backyard BBQ!  The entire event is tented with tables and chairs throughout. It’s the perfect environment to relax and have a great time with friends.


RAL: What can attendees expect at the event?

NSF: Our expanded menu of bacon and pork related dishes includes everything from the sublime Forever Roasted Bourbon BBQ Pork & Bacon Sandwich, to the insane Bacon Bar. The bar features chocolate covered and caramel nut dipped bacon or deep fried bacon ice cream. You’ll find many menu items developed by local chefs. These chefs are exploring the boundaries of New American Cuisine and the Farm-to-Table movement, in addition to good old fashioned comfort foods just like Mom used to make!


We also have an eclectic selection of bourbon and whiskeys. The distiller’s patient techniques are shared in a series of seminars and tastings. The rarest of the rare is the Pappy Van Winkle Tasting Experience, featuring five limited edition bourbons. The Classic Bourbons, Ryes & Whiskies seminar features a “who’s who” of fine bourbons including Elmer T Lee, Troy & Sons Oak, and Tap 35. All of our featured seminars are designed to enhance your knowledge and share the pleasures of bourbon, rye, and whiskey.


We’re introducing an expanded selection of bourbon inspired cocktails to the event this year! The list includes Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade, a Maple Dark Chocolate Old Fashion, the Classic Old Fashion and Manhattan Bourbon Smash, a Bacon Infused Bourbon Manhattan, and the Bacon Infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon.


Also new this year is the exclusive Bourbon Library, where we will feature hourly releases of rare bourbons. The Bourbon library is a private lounge, reminiscent of the old speakeasies of the prohibition era, with comfortable seating and a relaxing atmosphere to taste and enjoy rare, hard to find bourbons including Blood Oath, Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection and EH Taylor Cured Oak to name just a few. You will feel like you are going back in time to the days of speakeasies and bootleggers.


RAL: What will people find for activities?

NSF: We’ll have plenty of backyard games like corn hole, jenga, giant checkers, and the now infamous pig races! In addition, we have live music on our main stage both days with acts that include:


Friday, March 18th

2:00–4:00    Jay Blues Band

4:30–6:30    Big Medicine - Jerry Leeman

7:00–8:30    Grace & the Victory Rider

9:00–10:30  The Flyers


Saturday, March 19th

2:00–3:30     Acoustic Mayhem

4:00–6:30     Joey Gilmore

7:30-10:30    Buster Leggs with special guests Toucan Blue & Friends


RAL: What will attendees find for local lodging?

NSF: There are plenty of great options for every budget in Delray Beach. A few local options to consider include Hyatt Place, The Seagate Hotel & Spa and Crane’s Beach House Hotel & Tiki Bar.


RAL: What does the event mean to the community.

NSF: The primary goal is to create a unique environment and experience for our patrons. We really want to set ourselves apart from the typical festivals in Delray Beach and we feel this festival is doing just that. In addition, the event has a big impact on the local economy, with a total industry impact of $265,159.  


We also have six local non-profit organizations that help staff the event, earning proceeds for their organization based on man hours and the number of volunteers staffing the event. Groups participating include: Atlantic High Band Boosters, Center for Exceptional Children, Sister Cities, Boy Scout Troop 301, Delray Beach Police Explorers and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

For more information about the Bacon & Bourbon Fest, please visit their website.