2017-05-18 / Top News

Roger Dean Stadium brings home the bacon

If live music from three bands, a children’s area with inflatable attractions, a game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and the Florida Fire Frogs and a finale fireworks show aren’t enough to draw attendees to Roger Dean Stadium on May 20, bacon and beer will.

All manner of the meat that many are mad about will be fried up in a pan during the debut of the Bacon & Beer Festival, an all-day affair that includes tastings from 15 craft breweries.

“There have been a lot of food festivals lately, and bacon seems to be a common one,” said Mike Bauer, the stadium’s general manager. “So why not do one here at Roger Dean?”

The event runs from 2 to 9 p.m., giving bacon and beer lovers seven sinful hours to soak in the sizzling sights, smells, sounds — and sodium – and sample some of the 60 flavors of froth.

“We’ll have our normal baseball crowd plus those folks who come to explore the bacon portion of it,” Mr. Bauer said.

Roger Dean Stadium’s concession stand will serve bacon-flavored bloody Marys, bacon-topped hot dogs and bacon gelato. The dozen or so food trucks stationed out front will offer bacon cheese fries, bacon-and-blue-cheese-stuffed burgers, bacon-wrapped scallops and shrimp and bacon jam. There also will be bacon-infused beer and bourbon.

“Anytime we do these fun theme nights, we’re always trying to create a unique reason for fans to come to the game in addition to baseball,” said Mr. Bauer, who expects a crowd of more than 2,000.

The Bacon & Beer Festival is one of 11 promotional nights at the ballpark during the 2017 Florida State League season. Star Wars Night kicked off the series April 8, and Super Hero Night will conclude it Sept. 2.

“We just think it’s going to be a huge community draw,” said Kelly Davis, president of the Rotary Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, the Bacon & Beer Festival beneficiary.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the service club that delivers dictionaries to local elementary schools, awards scholarships to high-school seniors and donates blankets to patients at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The club belongs to Rotary International and, as such, focuses on larger projects that include providing drinking water in Guatemala and eliminating polio worldwide.

“The fact is we’re not well-known, but we’re kind of the best-kept secret in the northern Palm Beach area,” Mr. Davis said. “Our fundraising has mostly been done internally, but we’re trying to change that.”

He and his two dozen club members have been working behind the scenes to ensure a successful event that will make a difference in the lives of the needy, the sick and the underserved while also affording family fun.

“The response we’re getting is overwhelming,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s fireworks, music, baseball, beer and lots and lots of bacon — bacon being the exclamation point.”

Festival-goers will enter through a fenced-in area at Main Street and University Boulevard, where the live music, children’s area and food trucks will be. Beer tasting — an additional $15 — will take place between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. in the concourse. For those who pine for even more pork, a $50 ticket can be purchased for the VIP area — dubbed the Pig Pen — in the Cassidy Cool Zone party pavilion. The cost covers a barbecue meal with a bacon theme and exclusive beer tasting from Saltwater Brewery.

“We are overly enthused by the amount of feedback that we’ve received since announcing this event,” said Jerry Somma, president of Via Productions, which is staging the festival.

Mr. Somma, who produces the Feast of Little Italy every November at Abacoa, is handling all of the logistics and operations for the Rotary Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, his client.

“It’s a great concept, and we’re excited that it’s going to here in Palm Beach County,” he said. “Bacon makes everything better.” ¦

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