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United Way’s Imagination Bacon event set for Saturday

By Austin Koeller
Individuals can enjoy bacon and beer all while helping a local charity at an event this weekend.
Heartland United Way will host its fourth annual Imagination Bacon event from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center at Fonner Park. Cammie Benson, director of community engagement for the United Way, said 13 chefs will prepare bacon-inspired dishes at the event and more than 40 craft brews will be provided by more than 20 local and national brewers.
“The bacon makers range from Hy-Vee, McKinney’s, Sticky Rice, etc. They are all from our local area here,” Benson said. “We will have 13 of them and we let them make anything bacon-inspired. All of the food there will have bacon in it. Some of them are going to be desserts; some of them are going to be sandwiches and pizzas. Come hungry to the event because you are going to be eating a lot.”
Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. They can be purchased online at, by phone at (308) 382-2675 or by visiting the Heartland United Way office at 1441 N. Webb Road. Funds raised from the tickets sales will go toward the United Way’s Imagination Library program.
As part of the Imagination Library, enrolled children receive a free book in the mail every month. The books are age-appropriate and include reading tips to engage children and families. There is no cost and no financial requirements for the children or families.
Benson said United Way currently has 3,300 students enrolled in the program. She added it costs the organization $30 per child a year.
“Those funds help keep the Imagination Library program free for those families so we do not have to put a limit on it,” she said. “We can just let any child age 0 to 5 who lives in Hall, Hamilton or Merrick counties get a free book in the mail every month. This really helps us keep that free for the families.”
Benson added tickets will get event attendees unlimited four-ounce bites at each food booth and unlimited beer.
In addition to the bacon and brews, Imagination Bacon will also feature tailgating games such as giant Jenga and cornhole. Five different viewing screens will be showing the Husker football and volleyball games at the event.
“We will also have a silent and a live auction. There are about 100 auction items on the silent auction. Then, we will have six to eight live auction items,” Benson said. “That will be taking place throughout the night and it is all online. You go to If you just visit that website, you can sign up, search and bid on hundreds of different auction items.”
The silent auction items include Husker basketball and volleyball tickets, Creighton basketball tickets, a quarter beef, brew tasting trips and homemade furniture items. Benson said individuals do not need to be present at the Imagination Bacon event Saturday night to bid in the silent auction.
“Anybody can go to that website and bid on those items. They go there ahead of time and see what is going to be there,” she said. “The silent is a wide variety (of items). There is definitely something there for everybody.”
Benson added the silent auction will close at the end of the evening around the third quarter of the Husker game, which will be shown at the event.