‘Bacon Capital’ efforts begin

FAIRMONT — Circuses might tout bicycle-riding bears, but Martin County can lay claim to an ice-skating pig.

The yet-unnamed pink pork mascot promoting Martin County as “Bacon Capital USA” will skate Thursday at the hockey arena at the Martin County Fairgrounds. The porker’s appearance is the result of a joint effort between the Fairmont Hockey Association and Bacon Capital USA.

The boys and girls varsity hockey teams will face off against the Marshall teams, with the girls starting at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. Prior to both games, the pig will perform a skating routine to “It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Bacon,” a parody of the seasonal song, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” The pig also will be available for photos.

Throughout the evening, various bacon delicacies will be available at the arena’s concession stand, and Bacon Capital USA merchandise, such as T-shirts and caps, will be sold.

The Bacon Capital USA promotion is just getting started, according to committee members Laura Olson and Steve Hawkins. So far, the porky mascot has appeared only at the Martin County Fair and the recent Glows parade, but plans are underway to increase the visibility of the pig and the bacon campaign.

“We’re considering some different types of competition, spreading out through other athletic events,” Olson said.

“The committee is still in its infancy, but there are larger things in the works, like a ‘Battle for the Bacon’ traveling trophy,” Hawkins said.

The group also is researching the possibility of a beer and bacon tasting event, and there might even be a Bacon Queen in the future.

The pig mascot itself will undergo some changes. The current costume was one the committee quickly bought off Amazon to initiate the bacon promotion, but a customized costume is being developed, one that can adapt to various wardrobe changes from overalls to a tuxedo.

But, for now, a generic ice-skating pig at a hockey game will suffice.

“This is meant to be something that’s really fun — and corny,” Hawkins said. “It’s meant to be a little off the wall.”

He said local pork producer Lynn Becker approached him with the bacon promotion idea in mid 2016. The reasoning behind promoting Martin County as the country’s bacon capital became obvious.

According to the website, www.baconcapitalusa.com, Martin County is home to more than 150 pig farms that produce about 40 million pounds of bacon per year. In 2016, these farms generated more than $240 million in gross income from the sale of pigs, which went to feed Americans who consume, on average, about 18 pounds of bacon per year.

“We’re trying to get Fairmont and Martin County on the map,” Hawkins said.

An outline of Minnesota, with a red star designating Martin County, is predominant on Bacon Capital USA merchandise. In addition to being available at the arena on Thursday, the T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps and stocking caps are available in Fairmont at AdMfg. at 100 N. State St., Suite D.

“The merchandise makes wonderful Christmas gifts,” Olson said.


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