DES MOINES, Iowa -- The smell of bacon was in the air Saturday as thousands converged on Iowa's capital city for an increasingly popular festival celebrating all things connected with the meat. Some people wore Viking hats and others walked around with makeshift snouts for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. The annual event featured more than 10,000 pounds of bacon served in unusual ways, such as chocolate-dipped bacon and bacon-flavored cupcakes and gelato. "I love bacon more than I love my job," said Katie Nordquist, who was dressed in a tuxedo T-shirt that looked like bacon Saturday for her first time at the festival. And there was a lot of bacon to choose from. The smell of unique concoctions like bacon gumbo and chocolate bacon bourbon tarts wafted through one of two buildings at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The other building had an Iceland theme, with a Viking boat and Icelandic dishes with bacon, to honor a group of delegates visiting from the country. Urbandale resident Mike Vogel showed up for a fourth year wearing a head-to-toe bacon costume. He said a widespread love for bacon is the reason about 8,000 tickets to the event sold out in just over three minutes. "I think it's the right time of year when everybody's been cooped up," said the 39-year-old videographer. "It's a good time to get out, have some fun, try some new stuff, have a few beers and enjoy yourselves with everybody else." Other events scheduled included lectures about bacon and an eating competition. The festival was preceded earlier in the week with a bacon queen pageant and a pig pardon by Gov. Terry Branstad. Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said bacon used to be just a breakfast food. Now chefs from across the state and country use it in everything from vegetable dishes to desserts. "It's come a long way and you can find it in almost any kind of food or beverage offering," she said. Festival co-founder Brooks Reynolds, who officially started the event just a few years ago, said it's become the largest bacon showcase in the world. He called the event a "bacon fellowship." "They can just bond with their fellow man and just celebrate the meat that everybody enjoys," he said. Loading Slideshow Kim's Bacon Queen 2013 Rap You want to know how Kim did at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Queen Pageant last night? After this performance, there was no question who would become the next Bacon Queen 2013. Congrats, Kim! Thousands attend Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival Thousands attend Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival Iowa Bacon Queen Crowned, Wears Bacon Dress The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines has gone from a small gathering in a bar to a major event. Bonnie, a Berkshire breed pig about 2 1/2 months old, waits for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to pardon her outside the governor's mansion Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. The pardon is a first for the governor and a celebration of the annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival that begins this weekend at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. (AP Photo/Barbara Rodriguez) Pig Pardon Chrissy Dean Meat lovers converge for Iowa bacon festival: The annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival event featured more than 10,... http://t.co/O8dkTUtx Des Moines, Iowa: a piglet pardoned by Governor Branstad, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival 2013 Iowa: Bonnie, the pig, is pardoned by Gov Terry Branstad at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival 2013. Lucky Bonnie will be a farm pet. Well, at least for a year... Why Go To Iowa Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival 2013 DES MOINES, Iowa (Des Moines Register) - Six thousand pounds of delicious, greasy bacon is being prepared by bacon festival chefs for the upcoming Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. The 8000 available tickets for the event sold out in less than four minutes. So how do you prepare three tons of bacon to feed a pork-crazed mob?