Bacon. For many “meat candy” lovers, that’s about the only word that needs to be said. For Jason Tredway, the love of bacon was enough to create an event that drew connoisseurs from miles around to the sweet city’s American Legion.
The first ever Festival of Bacon was held Saturday, Dec. 11, featuring delightfully aromatic and tasty entrants from local bacon making masters. A fundraiser for the American Legion, for $20, attendees could judge the dishes that featured bacon cooked any ol’ way you could imagine, whether it was grilled, fried, stewed or pepperminted.
Tredway, who served as a tank mechanic for five years in the Army, was deployed to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Now a Sugar Hill resident, he is a land surveyor and CAD technician who found himself passionate about helping his local American Legion, donating about 30 hours of his time per week to the group.
“There were two events that solidified my desire to be a part of the American Legion,” Tredway said. “I’d never been a charitable person before, at least not in my mind, but we helped a Vietnam veteran who lost his legs in the war and was confined to a wheelchair build a deck so he could get in and out of his house. Getting to serve those who served was a huge motivator for me to get involved more with the Legion.
“The other event that really made me want to get involved was being part of helping a team of veterans to erect the GoldStars Tribute Wall,” Tredway said.
Led by Buford resident Sam Nicoara, the wall honors fallen soldiers, displaying the names of U.S. veterans who died serving between the Gulf War to present day.
“Reading some of those names, I realized how fortunate I was to have served with some of these guys. But I got to come home,” Tredway said. The fire was lit in him to continue serving his local American Legion. “I wanted to grow the membership so we could help even more veterans and their families.
“I love America, and I love bacon. As the operations director for the Legion, I gave myself permission to hold the event,” Tredway said.
Weighing in at under 200 pounds, the 6-foot, jovial vet said he cooks about five pounds of bacon per week, often sharing it with the staff at the Legion.
“We were hosting the Man Olympics (an event aimed to raise money for breast cancer research) back in October, and I was there smoking 12 pounds of bacon and a brisket on the big smoker,” Tredway said. “One of the guys remarked, ‘This is so good, you should enter this in a competition!’”
Tredway said he’d never heard of a bacon competition, but that sounded like a pretty tasty idea.
Eleven presenters offered 14 entries, and 88 tasters/judges enjoyed the many flavors of the unique bacon-based dishes, including three types of bacon chili, ghost pepper bacon, Nutella-jalapeño bacon, week-aged pork belly fried bacon, bacon cupcakes, two kinds of bacon fried rice, peppermint bacon and “Kountry Fried Bacon,” presented by the widely photographed “Colonel Bacon” who dressed up for the event.
The two awards were determined by people’s choice. Each taster was given two tickets to vote for their favorite in the two categories: “Bacon Dishes” and “BACON.”
Team Porkski’s won the BACON category with their bacon burnt ends, and Sugar Hill resident Jeannie Brown took home the prize for Best Bacon Dish with her bacon-wrapped meatballs.
Locals can look forward to more tummy-warming entertainment from the Legion in months to come. Tredway is gearing up for February’s Chili While it’s Chilly chili cookoff, and the second Festival of Bacon will be held in May to coincide with the anniversary of the opening of the new post.
For more information on future events from the American Legion Post 127, visit legion127.us or email email@example.com.