How bacon is boosting this town's economy

KINGAROY came alive last weekend with the first BaconFest taking over the streets to celebrate bacon.

Chief baconeer Kathryn Stevens said it was an amazing weekend.

"I don't think anyone anticipated how huge it would be," she said.

The BaconFest Committee feel they exceeded the three aims they had set for the weekend.

The first was to boost the community pride, creating a certain level of pride and joy.

"I think we can tell by just judging on the smiles of people when they talk about BaconFest and the stories they've shared online," Mrs Stevens said.

The pride all started when the Kingaroy businesses got involved in the shop window display competition.

More than $10,000 was raised for the Graham House Community Centre during BaconFest, which will go straight to farmers in need.

Saint Mary's whipcracking team puts on a show at Baconfest's Piggies in the Park on Saturday August 25,
Saint Mary's whipcracking team puts on a show at Baconfest's Piggies in the Park on Saturday August 25, Jessica McGrath

Secondly, the food festival was designed to create an economic impact for South Burnett businesses.

"Some of the pubs reported tripled sales," she said.

Most of the vendors at the BaconFest food markets ran out of stock at lunchtime on the Saturday and restocked locally at Kingaroy businesses, so they could continue selling at the markets.

"There was a huge economic benefit to the town with the people visiting," Mrs Stevens said.

Kingaroy RSL had a queue out the door, and the Utopia Cafe went through 10kg of pulled pork on Saturday.

In the lead up to the food festival, the committee used South Burnett businesses for the catering and promotions.

"That money goes into the local community as well," she said.

The committee also wanted to provide people from out of town with an excuse to visit the South Burnett.

"I've got no doubt people are excited about Kingaroy, we've definitely put it at the front of mind for a lot of people," Mrs Stevens said.

In the bacon eating competition alone, about 80 per cent of entrants were from out of town.

"What we're really hoping is people had a great weekend at BaconFest, and because they were so busy at BaconFest and didn't have time to do other things, they will come back and go to the Bunya Mountains and art gallery," Mrs Stevens said.

The event would not have happened without the effort of committee members and volunteers, she said.

"Thanks to all of the volunteers who made it possible, and worked really hard," Mrs Stevens said.

The committee are currently discussing the most sustainable way forward, whether the food festival will become an annual or biennial event.

"We're excited about the future," she said.

South Burnett

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