More than 350 people headed to the Laurel Packing House Friday night to enjoy all things BC Craft Cider and pork related.
The inaugural sold-out BC Bacon & Cider Festival kicked off BC Cider week, which runs April 29 to May 7, 2017.
“We felt there were lots of wine festivals, lots of beer festivals, but there weren’t really any things to celebrate the craft cider industry in British Columbia, so that is why we created the event,” explained event co-organizer Mark Ziebarth.
“We decided to add bacon to it because, why not, who doesn’t like bacon. We have 20 different vendors pouring 57 different varieties of mostly ciders, some wine, some beers, some spirits, but mostly British Columbia craft cider.”
The event was the brain child of Ziebarth’s former business student, Michelle Johnson, who partnered with him to organize the event.
“I saw a gap in the industry and I just thought ‘wow no one is doing a craft cider festival’ and craft cider is blowing up right now,” said Johnson.
“It is really exciting. We sold out in 30 days, which was not expected for a first-year event, but it looks like everybody is having a great time.”
The bacon-inspired food at the event was all complimentary, courtesy of the Okanagan College Culinary Arts team.
“I love the idea of getting students out to do live events,” added Johnson. “I use to do that as a college student too, so seeing them work at a live event is really awesome and I am glad we get to give them that experience.”
The event chose the OC Culinary Student Bursary Fund as its charitable partner and Johnson hopes funds raised at the cider fest will send a student to Europe to hone his or her craft.
With the success of the inaugural event, both organizers say they plan to be back next year.
“If you want to join us next year we will almost certainly be back,” said Ziebarth.
“End of April, Laurel Packing House, possibly for two days – get your tickets early.”