Food Festivals

Delray Beach's 2017 Bacon & Bourbon Fest Canceled

You can add the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest to the list of foodie-focused festivals Delray Beach will lose in 2017.  Organizers Festival Management Group (FMG) have decided to relocate, postpone, or cancel three such annual events this year.

On Friday, September 2, Sarah Vallely — assistant executive director for the Delray Affair, Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Festival, South Florida Garlic Fest, and Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest — posted the cancelation announcement to her Facebook timeline: 
According to FMG executive director Nancy Stuart-Franczak, the company will instead focus on its two largest events, the South Florida Garlic Fest and Delray Affair. The news comes two months after FMG announced it would also be postponing the fifth-annual Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Fest over similar concerns.

"We are committing all our time, money, and resources into making the Garlic Fest and Delray Affair the best ever," said Stuart-Fraczak. "We couldn't make the numbers [for Bacon & Bourbon Fest] proposed by the city work. Regardless of a phased-in increase, it [would have cost us] $17,000 more than last year. We did not want to impose the additional cost onto our attendees."

In June, Garlic Fest was the first to make headlines when FMG announced its most popular and longest-standing event would relocate to Lake Worth's John Prince Park February 10 to 12. The festival — which raises money for 18 different nonprofits — has been held in the city's downtown for 17 years.

The move is the result of the City Commission's desire to amend Delray Beach's special events policy, which includes recommendations to limit the number of major events and/or festivals that can be held in the city each month. To avoid conflict with the Delray Beach Open, which runs for several weeks in February, festival coordinators told the city leaders they would relocate Garlic Fest.

Now, many of the City Commission's proposed changes and fees — including limiting street closures — have continued to make it difficult for FMG, the full-service event management company responsible for planning and producing several of the city's festivals each year, to complete the necessary planning needed to reorganize and/or alter their current roster of upcoming events, added Stuart-Franczak.

"We're working on something that will be much more fun and a bigger bang for your buck," added Valley. "But $31,000 for city costs alone with an event that has less than 2,000 attendees, we just couldn't see a way to make that work."

The Bacon & Bourbon Fest launched in March 2015. It included tastings, pairings, and educational seminars.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.