Cooking at the festival

Ara Yauk tosses some sriracha-coated bacon-wrapped buffalo wings in a bowl at last year’s Bacon, Blues & Brews festival in Belton.

Craft beer, bacon creations and blues bops are all on Belton’s menu this coming weekend.

The city’s third annual Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival will take place Friday and Saturday in the area around the historic Bell County Courthouse, 101 W. Central Ave. The event will feature live music, Texas breweries and a bacon cook-off.

The festival will begin with a kickoff party from 5-9 p.m. Friday with food trucks, breweries and live music from the 1st Cavalry Jazz Band and Tom Petty tribute band, The Damn Torpedoes.

Participating breweries will include Bold Republic Brewing Company in Belton, Barrow Brewing Company from Salado, Altstadt Brewery out of Fredericksburg, Independence Brewing Company from Austin and Southern Roots Brewing Company of Waco. Kissing Tree Vineyards from Eddy will also participate in the festival.

The fun will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday with more music, beer and the bacon cook-off.

Judy Garrett, Belton tourism manager, said seven teams have registered for the cook-off so far.

“They’re very good teams,” she said. “They’re definitely bringing the A-game.”

The cook-off is limited to 25 teams. Teams are limited to four people.

Registration can be completed at SeeBelton.com/f/13.

Each team will prepare bacon-inspired dishes to compete in three categories: appetizer, entrée and drink. Belton’s H-E-B plus! will donate 20 pounds of bacon for each team to get creative with.

“So we will have five judges per category that will go to each team and judge their category,” Garrett said. “And we’ll have somebody tally everything up and we’ll announce the winner.”

The team with the highest overall score will bring home the bacon in the form of a $2,000 cash prize. They will also have their recipe promoted through the Belton H-E-B plus! Cooking Connection for two weeks after the event. Trophies will also be given for Best Drink, Best Appetizer and Best Entrée. Prizes for the People’s Choice and Showmanship Award will also be presented.

Garrett said cook-off teams will provide samples of their dishes to festival-goers, who can purchase tickets to vote for their favorite teams. Tickets for People’s Choice cost $1 each, and proceeds will benefit AWARE Central Texas.

“And you can vote for your favorite team as many times as you want,” she said. “We want you to, it all goes to charity.”

Garrett said there will also be non-competing teams who just want to promote their business or restaurant.

Saturday’s entertainment will include performances from 1st Cavalry Jazz Band, Jay White and The Blues Commanders and Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute band, Texas Flood Band.

“The bands are fantastic, the food is fantastic, plenty of breweries out there, and it’s just going to be fun,” Garrett said. “And it looks like it’s going to be fantastic weather, so we’re super excited about that. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and come on out.”

She said the purpose of Belton’s Bacon, Blues and Brews is to introduce more people to downtown. She said the event has had a great turnout the past two years, and she expects a very high turnout this year.