As the number one pork producing state in the country, Iowans know pork; and as the home to the world-renowned meats laboratory, Iowa State knows meat. In February of 2013, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Student Council President, Jake Swanson proposed this event to the council’s executive board and advisors. The idea was met with enthusiasm from the council and from the former Dean of the College and current Iowa State University President herself, Dr. Wendy Wintersteen. With tremendous support from students and university officials alike, the Iowa State Bacon Expo was founded as an event to promote and showcase the college and agriculture in the state, as well as bring together bacon enthusiasts.
To begin planning for the first ever Iowa State Bacon Expo, CALS Council appointed a committee, chaired by Hannah Christensen and Kristin Liska. A front-page article in the March 27th edition of the Iowa State Daily announced the event. However, neither of the general Co-Chairs or Swanson anticipated the media attention and publicity the new event would receive. By that afternoon, other campus publications; magazines; newspapers, such as the Des Moines Register; and TV stations were contacting Swanson for information – everyone wanted to know more about the new event. National agricultural companies, businesses, and restaurants were interested in sponsoring the event, and, of course, all wanted to participate in the day of bacon!
Following the national attention, the original CALS Council Bacon committee was expanded, and nearly 70 students and 8 advisors were recruited to help ensure that the event properly celebrated Iowa State’s favorite pork product. With 7 new sub-committees, including Logistics, Sponsorship, Vendors, Entertainment, Security, Business Management, and Public Relations, Iowa State Bacon Expo became its own student organization.
The organization, along with students and staff across campus, are now working together to ensure success of the first student-powered event. Iowa State Bacon Expo will feature live music, bacon vendors, special guests, live demonstrations, and entertainment. While the over 2,000 estimated attendees may argue over which of the bacon recipes is their favorite, all can agree that when Iowa State brings home the bacon this fall, it will be a day worth celebrating!