With bacon and craft beer already a winning combination, how does an annual festival up the ante? For the Bacon and Craft Beer Festival, it does so by adding some particularly Bakersfield touches.

Since the annual event, held at the Park at River Walk, will fall on Veterans Day (Nov. 11), there will be a special deal for veterans and active military members: $20 admission starting at 1 p.m. 

With proof of service or current military ID, those who have served can enjoy an afternoon of brews, bacon and bull riding (we'll get to that in a minute).

Note for loved ones who want to attend with service members: Buy your ticket in advance ($60) or pay at the gate ($70).

Also new this year is a mechanical bull, which attendees can ride for free after signing a waiver.

Why add a bull? "Purely for my own personal entertainment," joked organizer Austin Powell.

Speaking of entertainment, live music is another addition to the festival, now in its fourth year. Lonely Avenue, The Aviators and Indigo Blue will perform next Saturday.

Music will keep things lively as well as the home brew tent, which has grown this year. The 20-by-30-foot tent will feature 25 local home brewers bringing 50 beers.

Attendees will receive four wooden nickels to vote for their favorite home brew and bacon vendor. The coins can be distributed as they wish, Powell said, with all their votes going to one booth or brewer if they desire.

Top bacon vendor and home brewer both earn a trophy but the brewer gets an added perk: the opportunity to take their winning recipe and brew it at Lengthwise, which will serve it on tap.

"They'll get a chance to commercially brew their beer," Powell said.

Speaking of beer, nearly 60 breweries will be represented including Lost Coast, Hangar 24, Modern Times, Belching Beaver and Tioga-Sequoia. 

Local breweries will all be represented — Lengthwise, Kern River, Dionysus, Local Craft Beer, Temblor — as well as one yet to be tapped: Ridge Route, which Powell will launch next summer in northwest Bakersfield.

"We'll have our own booth out there (in the home brew tent). We're excited for people to try our IPAs. It'll be a good sample of what we’ll be serving."

He urged interested imbibers to swing by early as they'll only have 10 gallons of each beer.

And for those who happen to not dig the brews, the festival will have wine as well as some mixed drinks, such as a smoked whiskey cocktail from Eureka!

"We do get people — wives who come, friends — who might not like beer. ... We want to offer a little more for somebody who might like something else."

And everyone can eat. This event will pile on the pork including Lengthwise, which will again roast a whole pig. Other vendors include Michaelangelo's Wood-Fired Pizza, Sonder, Locale Farm to Table, Fuzion On, Centro 18 Cuisine and Lounge, Strongman Mini Donuts, Moo Creamery, Just Wing It, Dickey's Barbecue Pit and Lucille's Smokehouse.

The fun starts at 1 p.m. (noon for VIPs, who also receive pours from limited-edition beers and an event T-shirt) at the Park at River Walk, 11298 Stockdale Highway. The festival runs until 5 p.m. and attendees are urged to find a designated driver or arrange a ride-hailing service. Bike Bakersfield will return offering a bike valet service for those who pedal to the park.

Tickets are $60, $95 for VIP in advance, available at eventbrite.com (plus fees) or at any Lengthwise location or Moo Creamery. Prices will rise to $70 and $100 on the day of the event.

For more information, visit baconandcraftbeerfest.com.

Veterans Day deals

Along with discounted admission to the festival, veterans can enjoy a number of dining deals in advance of Veterans Day. The Military Wallet — a personal finance website for military, veterans and their families — has compiled a list of Veterans Day deals and we have those along with some local offerings.

Unless noted, these deals are for dine-in meals Nov. 11 for active-duty service members and veterans with military ID or proof of service. Always call ahead to confirm participation at specific locations.

Applebee’s: Free meal from a special menu (American standard burger, butcher’s meat and potatoes, three-cheese chicken cavatappi, chicken tenders platter, fiesta lime chicken, double crunch shrimp or Oriental chicken salad)

Black Angus Steakhouse: All American steak plate (8-ounce top sirloin steak, served with homestyle mashed potatoes, broccoli with garlic butter, sweet molasses bread and a nonalcoholic beverage) for $9.99. It is available until 3 p.m.

California Pizza Kitchen: Free pizza, full-size salad or pasta from the special Veterans Day menu.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse: Free entree, up to $12.95 value, on Nov. 10 and 11. Guests over the age of 21 are also invited to raise a glass to veterans for just $6 each.

Chipotle: On Tuesday, from 5 p.m. until closing, the chain is offering a buy-one-get-one free offer (good for burritos, bowls, salads or tacos) for all U.S. military, military spouses and veterans

Denny’s: Free build your own grand slam from 6 a.m. to noon Nov. 10

Farmer Boys: Free big cheese cheeseburgers for veterans on Nov. 10

Famous Dave’s: Free two-meat combo, served with choice of side and cornbread muffin, for veterans

Golden Corral: On Nov. 13 (from 5 to 9 p.m.), the restaurant will host its 16th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner with a free meal for veterans and active military. For more information visit goldencorral.com/military

Little Caesars Pizza: Free pizza or Hot-N-Ready lunch combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Outback Steakhouse: Free bloomin’ onion and nonalcoholic beverage

Red Lobster: Free appetizer or dessert from a select list

Red Robin: Free Red’s tavern double, served with bottomless steak fries

Romano’s Macaroni Grill: Free Mom’s ricotta meatballs and spaghetti

Sizzler Restaurants: Free lunch (choice of steak, chicken or shrimp) served until 4 p.m.

Thanksgiving prep

You may already be planning your Thanksgiving meal but if you want to knock dessert off the list, Cafe Smitten has an offer for you. The 18th Street coffee shop partnered with The Pie Hole in Orange to offer Bakersfield's non-bakers a chance to bring a winner to dinner. Now through Nov. 16, preorder your choice of pie — Moe's pumpkin pie ($30), Mom's apple crumble ($35) or salted caramel pecan ($38) — and pick it up Nov. 23. Call 843-7305 for more information.

As we get closer to the holiday, we'll let you know of any other fun offers to ease the turkey burden.

New and different

La Rosa Fruit Bars is ready for the holidays. Starting Wednesday, the local company will sell its seasonal assortment — gingerbread, eggnog, mint chocolate and pumpkin pie — in boxes of 16 2-ounce bars (four of each flavor) for $24. ... Ben and Jerry's has a new flavor: Jimmy Fallon's Marshmallow Moon, featuring a vanilla ice cream base with marshmallow and graham cracker swirls, and fudge chunks. Part of the Special Stash pints, it's available to order at store.benjerry.com

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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