According to many attendees, last weekend's Maryland Bacon Festival at Rash Field was plagued by long lines and shortage of, um, bacon. In the words of Adam Thomas, a commenter on the fest's Facebook page, "I would have gotten the same amount of bacon if I had exchanged my $25 for 100 quarters and threw them into the harbor, wishing for bacon." Here at Baltimore's most bacon-obsessed alternative weekly, we couldn't rest until we got to the bottom of the bacon debacle, so we reached out to organizer Evan Weinstein via email and asked him some questions. His answers are below:
City Paper: Can you explain the lack of planning for the amount of samples made available as well as the lack of food stations? Evan Weinstein: Wasn't so much a lack of planning as some unfortunate circumstances, we unfortunately lost several vendors in the 10 days going into the event including 6 restaurants and 2 specialty vendors. Those additional 8 points of sale would have made a world of different [sic] in the lines. Additionally, we tried to over prepare the vendors for what was coming and while some of our vendors such as Ryleigh's served samples throughout the day some vendors did not prepare like instructed and found themselves not ready for the crowd and on top of that while food trucks are great and serve amazing food, volume is not something they specialize in so again we have to go back to the drawing board and figure out the right mix of booths and trucks. CP: Why did you offer so many tickets if you didn't have the supply to meet the demand? EW: The tough part of the day was early, everyone showed up all at once and got right in line causing a major back up. As the day went on things calmed down. I don't think it was so much how many tickets we sold as much as 80-85% of them showing up in the first 90 minutes. CP: We realize that Facebook is a place for negative comments, and are sure there's also positive things you may have heard about, anything you want to mention about this? EW: We feel its important to give people that platform to express their frustration both publicly and directly to us, we actually there was some really positive feedback that came in through facebook and via email. We realized there was a contingency of frustrated patrons and I can totally understand why early on in the day, we saw a turning point around 3:30/4pm when we made some adjustments and the rest of the day was great. The bands were great, the competition between the vendors was great, the bacon eating contests were fun. Once we hit that turning point there seemed to be a tension that lifted and people started to really have a good time. CP: Anything else you wanted to talk about in terms of the event? EW: We totally understand that some patrons were frustrated and we've personally responded to every email that we've received and directed patrons to send emails if they are unhappy so we can address their frustrations and concerns. We realize this model was not perfect and know what adjustments need to be made to make this a more successful event in the future.