Residents of the Shoals girded their arteries in celebration of the first annual Downtown Bacon Crawl this weekend. The fine folks of Florence Main Street, a local nonprofit organization specializing in the preservation of Downtown Florence, forged a genius concept to bolster interest in their hometown: serve bacon. In fact, serve lots of bacon. One may wonder how such a fundamental truth could go unnoticed for so long by so many. Everyone loves bacon. Even pigs love bacon. Bacon sells itself, honestly.
Florence Main Street joined forces with dozens of businesses downtown to create a gauntlet of aggressively delicious foodstuffs, all of which, in some shape or form, included the holiest of breakfast meats. The greasy affair began at 11 AM Saturday morning in Wilson Park, where armbands were sold to the attending, salivating masses. Along with an armband, each patron was given a goody bag that included a map of the participating businesses and several to-go boxes, in case someone wanted to take their smoky treasures home with them. It was my ardent belief, however, that anyone using a to-go box at a Bacon Crawl was just not doing it right. Leftovers? At a festival devoted to bacon? Amateurs.
Equipped with armband and goody bag, I fished out my map and pinpointed my first target, Bookmark’s Coffee Shop. Apparently those maniacs had developed a fiendish concoction called the Brown Sugar Bacon Milkshake. I had no idea how to comprehend such a daunting foodstuff, let alone how to ingest it safely, but somehow, perhaps by sheer force of will, I not only found the necessary courage to approach Bookmark’s, but also found the acceptance to submerge myself into the syrupy, inescapable depths of a potential food coma afterwards. You know, for science. Anyway, once inside I approached the counter and made my order. “One Brown Sugar Bacon Milkshake, please,” I proclaimed with false bravado at the clearly unimpressed clerk. “No need to wait to amputate my foot, doc,” I joked, “We can do it at the table as I drink this.” The clerk didn’t flinch, only giving me my shake and change along with a partially convincing “Have a good day.” Perhaps my joke was too subtle for small pleasantries and required extra time to digest? I thought it was funny, at least.
Anyhow, I walked outside, drink in tow, and took a generous sip. A flood of sugary, smoke cured goodness coursed through my veins, causing my heart to flutter like a frenzied humming bird after a nectar binge. Oh, this was good stuff! Too good! The sugar and salt coursed through me as I blazed down Court Street, rapidly scooping up any available treats. Though lost in the cured haze of bacon shake induced frenzy, I recall other dishes that were also delicious. The Bacon Quiche was tasty, not to mention the bacon jalapeno cheeseballs served at Le Vintage Soul. There were other delights, of course, but I still find myself enchanted by the Sugar Bacon Milkshake the most. It left a lasting impression long after my energy waned and I returned home to lapse into the aforementioned food coma. Why yes, those to-go bags were filled, what of it? I have to stay supplied with bacon goodness till next year, after all.
About the Writer
Caleb Darnell is a writer born and bred in Florence Alabama. He doesn’t like to talk about himself that much.