Iowa’s bacon festival begins with an unusual tradition: Governor Terry Branstad pardons a pig.
Bonnie, a 30 pound Berkshire pig, was saved from a frightful fate on Friday. She will now rest a little easier in spite of Saturday’s Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
An article by The Associated Press writes that upwards of 8000 people were estimated to attend this year’s celebration. Tickets to the bacon bonanza sold out in approximately three minutes.
Bonnie managed to escape an unfortunate demise at a festival that boasts an estimated consumption of more than 10,000 pounds of bacon. Just over two months old, the pig was selected at random from a State Center farm affiliated with Eden Farms.
Branstad delivered the plump pig’s pardon in a ceremony on the property of the governor’s mansion in Des Moines.
According to Radio Iowa, the governor granted Bonnie her pardon while she rested in the arms of State Center pork producer Randy Hilleman. Branstad’s granddaughters petted the pure-bred pig as the governor delivered this speech:
“While Iowans enjoy different types of pork to eat, bacon is the most popular, and the easiest meat to prepare. Whereas Bonnie the pig is with us and was selected as the mascot of this year’s Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, now therefore I, Terry E. Branstad Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proudly proclaim Bonnie the pig free from the sizzle of the frying pan for this year’s Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.”
After her short time in the spotlight and a pardon by the governor, Bonnie the pig will now live out her life as a farm pet.