If you find yourself in Gloversville on Saturday, you might hear squeals of joy and see people dancing in the street.
OK, we exaggerate. But folks do go a little bonkers for Bacon Jam, an outdoor downtown festival that’s all about warm strips of salted pork, live music and craft beer.
“Everyone loves the Bacon Jam. Bacon just makes people happy,” says Jennifer Jennings, downtown development specialist with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.
For the third year, people will pig out at the free festival in Bleecker Square around the pavilion where the farmers’ market is held from May through October.
“This year, we’re expecting 4,000 to 4,500 at a minimum, and we’ve had a steady increase in numbers over the last two years,” says Jennings. “On the event calendar, it’s become a mainstay of downtown Gloversville.”
Because admission is free, people can just stroll around, or bring their lawn chairs and set up near the stage and listen to Craic Agus Ceol, The Stinky Boots String Band, Duane Mark & Co. and The Insolent Willies.
Eleven food vendors will fork up the pork and other food-truck-type items. “All of our vendors are asked to have at least one bacon-centric food on their menu,” Jennings says.
Candied bacon, maple bacon bars and mac ’n’ cheese topped with bacon jam are just the beginning. “We have people who are doing bacon-flavored popcorn and bacon-covered mozzarella sticks. Of course, bacon pizza, too … and bacon-wrapped hot dogs,” says.
One of the most popular items is bacon on a stick offered by Smokin’ Hoggs BBQ, a Schenectady business. Last year, the sticks sold out in the first hour and a half. Smokin’ Hoggs also sells cotton candy wrapped around bacon on a stick, and smoked turkey legs.
And yes, there will be vegan and vegetarian options, courtesy of Mohawk Harvest Cooperative.
The beer garden, which is cordoned off, is “immensely popular,” says Jennings. “It is a $5 cover charge to get in, and then people purchase their drinks from the individual vendors.”
This year there will be four: Stump City Brewing in Gloversville; Rare Form Brewing Company of Troy; Serious Brewing Company from Howes Cave; and Nine Pin Cider Works from Albany.
Those with a beer bracelet can enter and exit the beer garden as they please.
“We have people who set up their chairs in the beer garden, we have people who set up their chairs right by the music. We have people dancing, little kids dancing,” Jennings says.
Because the event is focused on boosting the city, there will be booths set up near the library, senior center, local radio station WENT, Nathan Littauer Hospital and Fulton County Historical Museum.
“This year we have Parkhurst Field, our Little League field,” says Jennings. “It’s the oldest continuously used baseball field in America. They are planning a major remodel and rehabilitation of the field, a rebuilt grandstand to reflect what it looked like in 1906, when it was first built, and a baseball museum.”
Money raised at Bacon Jam returns to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth and is used for downtown-stimulating events and improvement projects suggested by residents, like pedestrian safety signs.
Bacon Jam is Gloversville’s third festival, after the Southern Adirondack Wine and Food Festival, which attracts about 2,000 people in June, and Railfest, which draws 3,000 to 5,000 in August.
Across America, bacon love fired up in the 1990s, apparently due in part to the Atkins low-carb diet craze and the internet, and now there are bacon festivals in at least 15 states. In New York, you’ll find them in Syracuse, Oswego, Utica and New York City. Buffalo has a Bourbon & Bacon Fest.
“It’s a great party for downtown,” says Jennings. “It’s about food and music and having a wonderful time celebrating downtown Gloversville.”
WHEN: 3-7 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine
WHERE: Farmers Market Pavilion, Bleecker Square, Elm Street, Gloversville
HOW MUCH: Free admission, $5 cover for beer garden; free parking along Elm and Bleecker streets
MORE INFO: www.downtowngloversville.org, Facebook
3-4 p.m.: Craic Agus Ceol
4-5 p.m.: The Stinky Boots String Band
5-6 p.m.: Duane Mark & Co.,
featuring Tim Vee
6-7 p.m.: The
-- Driver Dogs
-- Lynn & Walt’s Walk Up Wagon
-- The Mason Jar
-- Mendetta’s Pizzeria
-- Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market
-- Mustard’s Last Stand
-- Northville Rotary
-- Pug Dog Café
-- Smokin’ Hoggs BBQ
-- Something Different Food Truck
-- Tickled Pink BBQ
-- Nine Pin Cider Works
-- Rare Form Brewing Company
-- Serious Brewing Company
-- Stump City Brewing