I have come to understand that bacon is more than food. It seems to have the power to drive people to all sorts of levels of human experience.

Did you know that the first meal eaten on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin contained bacon? After landing at the Sea of Tranquility, the two astronauts dined on a meal that consisted of bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, a pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee; a tasty meal suited for any hero.

On any day in the Carolinas, the smell of bacon cooking is enough to bring everyone in the house together, if only for a moment, to secure their portions of the alluring food.

Why do we like the smell and taste so much? From generation to generation, the love of bacon seems to be part of our cultural makeup and we are not alone. Many parts of the world enjoy their version of a pork-cured delight as well.

Some years ago, there was a survey taken in Canada that suggested that more than 40% of those surveyed would choose bacon over an intimate moment with a companion. That’s big bacon love if you ask me. Or maybe it’s just one of those surveys that makes you laugh and think at the same time.

I recently attended the NC Bacon Festival in Rocky Point, North Carolina. The first year of the festival was delayed because of Hurricane Florence. It was a wet time for everyone in the eastern part of North Carolina. A lot of damage was seen by many; however, when things dried out enough, the festival did take place for one day and attracted around 6,000 people.

In late September 2019, the NC Bacon Festival at Old Homestead Farm enjoyed excellent weather, 15,000 attendees, thousands of pounds of bacon and food vendors who added bacon to almost everything they offered.

For those of us who just love the smell of bacon, the bacon scented candles were a big hit.

I asked the festival director, David Crookes, why this event was important to Rocky Point. He shared with me some of the challenges of our coastal communities and especially those who have experienced the damage caused from storms in recent years.

A great family focused festival will attract people and those people will fill up at gas stations, eat at local venues, stay in near by hotels and in general be beneficial for the local economy.

A unique festival such as this brings people together for a good time and that is what I witnessed. Sure, traffic was a challenge, some of the lines were long, but that’s all part of a successful festival and there was a lot of things for people to do.

It is for the love of bacon and a good time that these 15,000 people came together. If you wanted it, you certainly had the opportunity to indulge in a somewhat salty, smoky flavorful delight, sometimes even covered in chocolate. I talked with people who thought the chocolate covered bacon was the best thing they had ever eaten. Others were purest and did not care for it at all.

That’s the way it goes in the world of bacon. If you don’t like it one way, you will likely enjoy it another.

Here’s to the NC Bacon Festival and all the bacon lovers. May the next year be even better.

To my sweet vegan and vegetarian friends, please go to the watermelon festival. I’m serious. There is a lot of bacon at this festival.

Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com