Lebanon Bologna Fest & Winter Carnival
LV EXPO Center
In the interest of keeping cabin fever at bay, I coerced kidnapped forced brought “Mr.” RoadsideWonders to the Lebanon Bologna Fest over the past snowy weekend. The festival, hosted by the Rotary Club of Lebanon, celebrates Lebanon’s most famous export … bologna!
This isn’t the Barbie-flesh-colored stuff that Oscar Mayer hocks; it’s the super-flavorful smoked, fermented, and cured sliced beef that packs a strong kick (click here to see a picture of the Seltzer’s smokehouses). If you aren’t familiar with LB: when sliced, it resembles dark red salami and tastes like …. like …. ummm, well, it tastes like Lebanon Bologna!
In the last century, there were up to a dozen manufacturers in business. Now, there are fewer …. with the Seltzer’s, Weaver’s, and Kunzler’s companies producing the bulk of this Pennsylvania Dutch treat. The two most popular varieties are regular and sweet, although a few producers have introduced other varieties from time to time.
The main room of the event featured carnival games, inflatable rides, and other activities for children. If you are in the area and you have little ones, make sure to visit next year’s event. I’m sure they’d love it.
There was no shortage of great food options. We shared some “bologna fries”. I had my eye on the eclair-flavord funnel cake but I showed remarkable self-restraint and passed it up (in hindsight, that was a mistake because it’s not every day that I stumble upon gourmet funnel cake)
There were even bologna hot dogs! I vote that the festival holds a bologna dog eating contest next year. I want to see Bertoletti, Chestnut, Frasca, and Kobayashi tackle these puppies 🙂
The Fest Stage schedule included a number of local music acts, dance groups, and marshal arts clubs. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, the Polka Pals of Lebanon were doing their thing on the main stage. Now, I personally don’t like it when someone refers to older people as “cute” or “adorable” because it usually sounds so condescending …. but let me tell you, the Polka Pals ARE adorable and I mean that in the best possible way.
I was there to check out the bologna eating contest. The challenge for the contestants: eat as many bologna sandwiches as possible in 5 minutes! (see video at the end of this post!) Now, keep in mind that Lebanon Bologna is very strong and very dry… I imagine that it is much harder to eat these sandwiches quickly than it would be to eat regular lunchmeat sandwiches.
Have you ever participated in an eating contest?
Tell us about it in the comments below!
About a dozen warriors took on the challenge (including the event’s MC, Cornell, whose pleas for sweet bologna, rather than regular, went unheeded). Cornell was a character and had John and I laughing quite a few times during the day.