This Little Piggy

“Go back to bed,” Tracey encouraged me. “You have to be up early.”

It was tempting. After all, the annual BaconFest BBQ Smoke Off wasn’t going to judge itself and I owed it to the 42 contestants to have my tastebuds well rested and in peak condition. But it wasn’t going to happen.

A few minutes earlier I’d been roused from a newly obtained slumber with my wife loudly instructing someone to, “GO TO THE SINK !!”

We were parked up at the Kingaroy Show Grounds for a couple of nights to enjoy the festivities before my official duties began. Friday night Tracey and I had gone to the Wine & Swine dinner and Saturday was spent walking around the stalls with the family buying pig in all it’s most edible forms to sample, and basically having a great time. Only a couple of hours previously I’d returned home from watching the Kevin Bacon classic, Footloose with the kids.

Which was the main reason I couldn’t take Tracey up on her offer to jump back into bed. My good wife had stayed home on the bus with Miss7, who still has swollen lymph nodes in her stomach from a recent onslaught of bugs, meaning, at the film night, I’d been in charge.

It can’t be a coincidence many of the more disastrous stories I write about start with that premise.

I’d been in charge, meaning every time the kids asked if they could go back to the free buffet for more hot chocolates and sugary snacks, they were allowed to.

I’d been in charge, meaning when the movie started each kid had a large cup of their soft drink preference shoved into their eager hands.

I’d been in charge, meaning while we were walking home we stopped at Maccas to grab ourselves a one dollar frozen drink.

I’d been in charge all night, meaning even as I lay there emerging from sleep wondering why my wife was yelling instructions it quickly occurred to me the sound of someone dumping bucket after bucket of water up the bus hallway from a great height this was unlikely to be the case.

Climbing out of bed to help clean things up, it further occurred to me Miss12 had attempted to do exactly as her Mum had instructed. She’d vomited her way past the toilet and shower (with its foot deep bath-like almost-made-for-spewing-into base) and, despite a valiant effort, not quite made it to the sink.

In fact, against a backdrop of white cupboards, tan fabric dividers, dark grey floor tiles and light wooden benchtops, the sink was the only thing which didn’t appear to need cleaning.

While Tracey helped clean our daughter up I got down on my hands and knees and started scooping. I’m not going to show you photos of the ‘splatter zone’ or over describe the crime scene beyond mentioning from the brown hot chocolate colour to the bits of candied bacon, all my parenting sins were visible.

Not only my sins though. It was now disgustingly obvious to me who’d eaten the entire wheel of brie from the fridge this afternoon.

While I worked my way through a whole roll of paper towels I thought maybe I’d gotten away with it. Maybe Tracey hadn’t realised the reason we were both slipping and sliding our way up and down the centre aisle of our bus.

In fact, as sunrise edged closer I got a bit cocky. Some sleep deprived synapses decided it might be possible to make up for the previous night’s parenting failings by giving Miss12 a piece of my mind. Specifically some a-grade, top shelf, stellar Daddy advice about something which had been bugging me for at least half a bottle of disinfectant.

“You need to chew your food more,” I said as I scooped up yet another near pristine chunk of cheese.

I needn’t have bothered. After a thorough shower she’d sensibly taken her mother’s advice and snuck back to bed.

Tracey was still up though and answered on her behalf.

“Maybe if her father wasn’t trying to turn her liver into foie gras,” said Tracey through tight lips (although maybe that was just to stop the foul air from entering her lungs?), “she’d get a chance to chew.”

To give you an idea of what we were dealing with, we were cleaning for over an hour before it occurred to me I couldn’t smell this hospital grade eucalyptus disinfectant yet

Kevin Bacon Film Night – Footloose

I’m told the Kingaroy Cinemas are converted squash courts. Brilliant. This room was solely for meeting and greeting before the movie. Did I say meeting and greeting? Meating and eating.
Smile for a photo? Ain’t nobody got time for dat, Dad
The hot chocolate end of the buffet. The other end had all manner of sugary goodness
My four little piggies enjoying their fill of hot chocolates and sweets. And then some.
I took this photo of my hot chocolate to send to Tracey as a bit of a ha ha, but what I see now is Miss12 in the background up at the bacon buffet asking for yet another hot chocolate
Is it just me or is Kevin Bacon a bit of a pinhead?
And back again
And so it begins. I’d talked this bad boy of a movie up so much I was a little shocked when my kids immediately scolded me and asked what this movie was rated because a girl was car surfing as a truck bore down on her. “It’s PG,” I said with no confidence at all, although that is one letter off spelling pig and after all the pig puns and pork fun of the festival I’m sure the organisers were savvy enough to pick up on that. The good news is by the end of the movie my kids were fans. Plus they haven’t mentioned any of the many sexual references yet – so bonus win

SunPork BBQ Smoke Off Judging

Spotted this beauty across the sports park as I walked in to the smoke off. Couldn’t help myself but go have a gander
Coooorrrrr look at that. There’s no shame in admitting I’m into bus porn these days
First things first, we had to be trained. Apparently my love of all the things vegans hate wasn’t enough to automatically qualify me. No offence to vegans, I just don’t want to come around for dinner at your place anymore than you want to come to mine
I think everyone scored a 9 for presentation from me. Maybe a couple of 8’s. I was raised when someone is giving you food you damn well be grateful and make the appropriate sounds – criticising how a meal looks would have required child services to get involved
BBQing is serious business. These peeps were set up and days before waiting for the 5pm starters gun to begin preparing my tapas lunch the following day
I arrived early because I was told to arrive early, and was encouraged to go chat to the smokers. An hour later I was warned under no circumstances were we to fraternise with the smokers until after the judging. Someone else can take ownership of that one
I think some of the competitors take as much time coming up with their names as they do their recipes
From standard Bunnings smokers to bespoke trailer set ups, the love of BBQ was the equaliser
Almost a shame they started cooking at 5pm and not 5am, because it would have been great to let people see them working their magic. Things like removing the chicken skin and then reapplying it after some messing about to make it just right and come away in a clean ‘bite’. See, judge teachers, I was listening
42 contestants with minimum 50grams per serve and a childhood where you do not leave anything on your plate do not make for as great an afternoon as you’d expect.
For the math challenged, that’s over – OVER – 2kg of meat inside four hours, without so much as garnish. No sides, just meat, meat, meat. We had chicken, pork, pork ribs and beef
One of my fellow judges, Brendan from Stay At Home Mum & Tenacious Digital & Gympie Chamber of Commence & all the rest of the things he fits into a day while I’m looking for somewhere to nap
It’s serious business. Security on the ‘door’ to the judges tent, no seeing the contestants, secret codes on each tray so they can’t be linked to smokers, changing tables between tastings and no talking while you’re eating. Masterchef did not prepare me for this at all. Congratulations to all the winners and especially the Grand Champions, Signature Smoke
All I could stomach for dinner six hours later was a plain cheese sandwich. I suspect I’ll be eating more lamb this next week than normal. Well, lamb and bacon

SunPork Kingaroy BaconFest 2019

A child free night at the SunPork Wine & Swine was worth cracking out the ol’ safari suit for
Seven little piggies off to market
One thing I didn’t expect was for so much of the festival to be about things other than bacon. Local growers, like a caper farmer I heard telling his story, were given space and time to promote themselves as well. It really was about the region rather than just the local pig abattoir, so well done to SunPork for seeing the sense in bringing the whole community along
Perfect crowd size – pumping but not bumping into each other
The long table breakfast – we didn’t make this particular event because it sold out pretty quickly, but it looked delicious. Lots of live music on that stage there all through the festival, including The Pigs, who were very amusing as they porked fun at modern music
“You don’t have to give samples of everything they ask about to all of us,” I assured this woman. “You’ll go bust.” But she did. And she didn’t go bust, my wallet did
Several times we witnessed the impossible: pigs flying
So obviously we had to buy one. I suspect they were being let off by these vendors as a marketing ploy. And if they weren’t then I suggest they do next year. Worked brilliantly.
Rather than sit down for one meal we sampled several vendors on our stroll through the festival – this was from the SunPork area, which I confess I chose because it included a bar
Nice to meet some of the tribe there
The puns are baked in to this festival
‘Dame Edna’ was the funniest part of the day. She was an absolute crackler
I love it when a simple decoration can liven up a place and make it feel festive. I have a thing for white fairy lights, but these pig pink lanterns set the mood nicely even during the day
A little too poignant for my liking. Did make us laugh but
Real surprised at what a family friendly event it was , which wasn’t something I anticipated. Heaps of local schools etc involved in different ways to raise money – everything from a chip stand to activities
The signage throughout the festival and town was pun to read
This guy was incredible. I thought my kids could talk but he didn’t stop from Friday night through to Sunday arvo. Did a fantastic job. But also, tee, jeans, glasses, unshaven – sexy af look, my bother. I feel you.
They were warm days so Tracey asked the bacon dude if he had a rash yet – a good thing we couldn’t see his face because I’m guessing he got asked that one quite a bit this weekend

Kingaroy Showgrounds

Felt amazing to take Kenny out for a spin. Missing the HINO emblem off the front (it’s getting tidied up professionally) which seemed to mean a lot of dust came in during the two plus hour drive each way from home. Worth it
The kids played games and chatted and enjoyed the new wider vistas out the windows with the removal of curtains in lieu of blinds
Lord Farquar’s castle – that’s the kids saying it, not me
Even better at dawn (well, dawn-ish)
The new layout worked well, although I’ve decided to prioritise applying a semi-gloss to the insides asap – easier to wash off. No gazebos or anything fancy for this stay, just a table and some seats
We spent Saturday morning playing card and board games. Mainly Sushi Go! Seemed appropriate to keep things food themed
Opening the sunroofs usually creates a totem pole. Just because.
Plenty of room to move
The showgrounds are great. Expected to see a horse track like in Gympie but ended up being a speedway. As it turns out Poppy used to race here
Miss12 looking a little seedy the day after insisting we spend the night cleaning our bus
Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be back…..on.
Put a reminder into your calendar for this time next year. It’s a great festival and worth the effort to get there

Raising a family on little more than laughs

not at all sponsored, although we were put up at the showgrounds, taken out to dinner Wine & Swine and asked to judge the Smoke Off

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