Dancing Bear’s First Appalachian Homecoming

Bacon at the Bear 2022 | Nathan Sparks

Local chefs gather to honor Appalachian heritage and serve good food

There’s a little more than bacon being served at the Bear this August. After seven years of hosting their annual Bacon at the Bear – a self-described “birthday party” for the organization that doubles as a benefit for New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center – Dancing Bear has expanded their event menu to a full weekend of festivities, their very first Appalachian Homecoming. It kicks off Friday with an after-dinner event for members of the local Appalachian culinary community, and then opens to the public on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Houston Oldham, Director of Operations of Oldham Hospitality (the company behind Dancing Bear), says that this year they’ll have “seven or eight of the best chefs in the southeast, all creating two or three bite items” for the classic Bacon at the Bear-style tasting event on Saturday evening. Before that, however, they’ll be hosting what they call Dueling Stage Workshops, where notable southern culinary figures, like famed Nashville restauranteur Sean Brock, will be teaching attendees about their craft and traditions.

“Normally, people would have to visit these cities, these locations and go to these restaurants” in order to sample the food, says Ashley Box, Oldham’s Director of Marketing. But at the Appalachian Homecoming, guests not only get to taste everything in one place, but also get to meet the people behind the plate.

The weekend closes out with the 11 a.m. Farewell Bluegrass Brunch on Sunday, cooked up by the Bear’s in-house culinary team led by Chef Jeff Carter (a frequent flyer on Cityview’s Top Chefs list).

“We’re an Appalachian place trying to explore what it means to do modern Appalachian cuisine,” says Houston. He hopes that everyone who comes to this homecoming will feel like they’ve become part of the family – and of course, eat well from the family table.

You can find the full lineup of events at dancingbearlodge.com.

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