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Appalachian Bacon Nation festival enjoyed by all

| September 15, 2014

COSHOCTON – Lydia Els loves representing Coshocton County and is excited for the opportunity to do it again.

The River View High School senior was the 2013 Canal Days Queen and on Saturday, Sept. 13, was crowned the 2014 Bacon Festival Queen.

“I loved going all over the place to festivals and wasn’t ready to stop,” Els said.

She and the 2014 Bacon Festival King Donald Stiteler, who is a senior at Coshocton High School, both won $500 scholarships sponsored by Kraft Foods. The king and queen contest was held during the first ever Appalachian Bacon Nation festival.

Five people competed in the contest and were judged on the bacon recipe they entered, an essay written on their favorite Coshocton event and their on stage interview.

“It was fun,” Stiteler said. “I enjoyed making my bacon wrapped wieners the most.”

The judges, however, awarded the best recipe honor to Kaitlyn Finton for her bacon cupcakes. Best essay went to Jessie Gibson for her thoughts on the Taste of Coshocton event and best on stage interview was given to Lexi Huston.

The Appalachian Bacon Nation festival was held on the court square and on Main Street between Fourth and Third streets. The fun times included a 5K to benefit United Way, various craft and food vendors, music, a bacon eating contest, bacon cooking contest, the Weiner Mobile, an area just for kids and a beer garden hosted by the Pomerene Center for the Arts at its Park Space.

Festival goers also had the chance to buy slices of a humungous BLT.

“It’s the biggest BLT ever made weight wise,” said Mike Cichon, culinary arts instructor at the Coshocton County Career Center and one of the creators of the huge BLT. “It has 800 pounds of bacon, 650 pounds of tomatoes, 240 heads of green leaf lettuce and 60 gallons of mayonnaise. The bread alone weighs 3,700 pounds.”

Slices of it were auctioned off to raise money for United Way and what wasn’t purchased was donated to The Salvation Army, local food banks and taken to the fire station, sheriff’s office and to Kraft Foods for employees to enjoy.

“Me and Mike were excited to get together and do this,” said Jarred Giesey, who is a chef at Oscar Rose and The Warehouse restaurants. “It’s been fun. We started Wednesday at 11 a.m. and have been cooking since then.”

Kraft Foods donated the Oscar Mayer bacon for the sandwich and also made financial contributions to help Brad Fuller and his team of volunteers get the festival started.

“I think it’s fantastic that something like this was done,” said Lance Fulks, who has worked at Kraft for 19 years. “Oscar Mayer has been here since 1983.”

Fulks ran the 5K and then he and his family made a day out of the event, which Els can’t wait to promote.

“Everybody loves bacon and I want to encourage people to come and experience it in a nice town,” she said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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