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There's a lot more than bacon at the Olympic themed 2018 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

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Something's sizzling in Des Moines — and it's not just the kickoff to 2020 caucus season.

Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival returns Feb. 16 to the Iowa Events Center, boasting in its 12th year a "Hello Piggy — East Meats West" theme that's a nod to the event's growing relationship with Japan

Early bird general admission tickets to Bacon Fest cost $22.25 before fees and go on sale Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. Returning this year is a limited edition "goodie bag" ticket package that includes early event entry, drink and food tickets, and festival merchandise all for $53 before fees. 

The year's theme follows the second year of Japan Bacon Festival, an event co-hosted by Bacon Fest curators in Iowa's sister city Yamanashi. The event plans to meld about 13,000 pounds of American bacon with Japanese culture. 

► More: Iowa's Hinterland Music Festival is expanding to three days in 2019

"We're taking the coolest of Japanese culture, mixing it with some good old Iowa fun and then dousing it with an abundance of bacon," said Bacon Fest co-founder Brooks Reynolds in a news release. 

Bacon Fest experimented last year with opening sections of the festival to all ages, but returns in 2019 to being offered to those 21 and up. It's a move that allows the festival to "push the envelope" with unique activities, said festival co-founder Marshall Porter.  

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Here's a look at what Reynolds and Porter have frying for 2019:

Music: The festival expects to host a dozen live groups throughout the Iowa Events Center. Main stage acts include Iowa cover masters the Pork Tornadoes, party group Oreo Meatwagon, self-described "robot band" Roborock, and the Baberhood Bluegrass Band. 

Activities: Self-propelled Mario Kart racing, Sumo wrestling in inflatable suits, a Hogzilla rampage bar where attendees build a city to be destroyed by a life-like Godzilla, and a video game arcade top the list of attractions. 

Club Sizzle: The daytime bacon-themed rave returns to the fourth floor of the Iowa Events Center and will feature DJ Mister Black, house DJ for the Minnesota Vikings and Wild. A to-be-determined collection of local DJs also plan to take part.

More festival information can be found at blueribbonbaconfestival.com.

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