Japanese flag
The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is headed to the Land of the Rising Sun in November. Organizers of the annual festival held in Des Moines, Iowa, formed a partnership with the Junior Chamber of International Kofu to co-host Japan’s first-ever bacon fest.

The event is slated for Nov. 3, which also is Japan Culture Day, at Kitaguchi Historical Park and Yamanashi Prefecture Foundation Park in Kofu, Japan. Attendees will experience bacon American-style and Japanese-style in addition to pork-inspired dishes prepared by 20 local restaurants.

The cross-cultural festival will include food demonstrations, a chef exchange, bacon-centric contests in addition to live music. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local charities.

According to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival website, the event was inspired by the Iowa Hog Lift of 1959. Japan was devastated by two typhoons, and Iowa responded by airlifting 36 breeding hogs and shipping 100,000 bushels of corn. The event prompted a formal agreement for Iowa and Yamanashi to become “sister states,” and opened the door to agricultural cooperation programs and opening markets in Japan and the US for trade.