Cargill is supporting the second annual BaconTown Bacon & Brew Fest as the presenting sponsor. The event, scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Bridge View Center, will feature various food vendors, a "BaconArt" contest and entertainment themed around the popular pork product. Doors open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. and admission is free.
In honor of BaconTown, Governor Terry Branstad will declare the city of Ottumwa the "Bacon Capital of Iowa" for a day and Mayor Tom Lazio will present the proclamation to attendees at 5 p.m.
Iowa is the leading producer of all domestic pork products and is home to nearly one-third of the nation's hog population. Cargill's pork processing facility is located in Ottumwa and produces more than six million pounds of pork daily and more than one billion pounds annually. Alone, the annual amount of bacon produced at the facility could wrap around the world more than 15 times.
"Our bacon is distributed across the United States. It's been exciting to witness and play a role in the buzz surrounding the product," said Randy Zorn, Ottumwa plant general manager. "The profound influence of pork in Iowa is undeniable, and we experience it every day in Ottumwa. As a member of this community, our support is a way of saying 'thank you' for being incredible neighbors to our facility."
"Pork production plays an important role in so many of our lives. The people of Iowa and the city of Ottumwa are intertwined in this business and take pride in it," said Lazio. "With consideration to the magnitude of bacon the Cargill facility produces, combined with the anticipation for BaconTown festivities, it makes sense to recognize Ottumwa as the official 'Bacon Capital of Iowa.'"
In addition to its sponsorship, as part of its 150th anniversary celebration Cargill is donating 150 cases of bacon to the Food Bank of Southern Iowa. Cargill's Ottumwa pork processing facility has also donated more than $170,000 in cash and in-kind products to the local food bank, United Way and other area organizations in previous years.
The one-day BaconTown Bacon & Brew Fest is organized by Southern Iowa radio station, Thunder Country KIIC-FM. As part of the sponsorship, Cargill will supply bacon to all food vendors who will create bacon-themed food samples that will be available for purchase, starting at $1 each. Event organizers will transform the Bridge View Center's walls into a "town" environment and will introduce a new Wild West-theme to a section of the scenery. Last year's inaugural event welcomed approximately 3,000 visitors.
"For 150 years, Cargill has strived to responsibly nourish the world and leverage our business to help communities thrive. We are proud of our history in Ottumwa," Zorn said. "This is a unique opportunity for us to show our support; BaconTown is not just a fun, local event, it's a celebration of the positive impact of pork production in this community, and we are honored to be a part of it."
Cargill entered the pork business in 1971, and purchased its two processing plants in Ottumwa, Iowa and Beardstown, Ill. in 1987. As the largest employer in Wapello County, Cargill has more than 2,400 team members at its Ottumwa facility. Its products are sold in 26 global markets.