DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- -

The smell of bacon is in the air in Des Moines as thousands converge on Iowa's capital city for an increasingly popular bacon festival.

The annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival features more than just a side to eggs and hash browns. Festival-goers will find everything from chocolate-dipped bacon to bacon-flavored cupcakes and gelato.

Urbandale resident Mike Vogel showed up Saturday for a fourth year wearing a head-to-toe bacon costume. He says the event will only grow in popularity because people love bacon.

More than 8,000 people from around the country are expected to attend Saturday's event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The festival was preceded Friday with a bacon queen pageant and a pig pardon by Gov. Terry Branstad.