From 9 a.m., until 1 p.m., area restaurants set up along Center Street will be cooking on site. The chefs will prepare dishes using some locally-grown ingredients. You can purchase food tickets that are valued at $1 each and redeem them at these individual restaurant vendor booths for sample size portions. Participating restaurants include local favorites like Café Rue Orleans, Greenhouse Grille, Hjem, The Deli at Ozark Natural Foods, Hammontree’s, Mezza Luna and Pesto Café. There will be seating at Arvest Plaza, along with live music to entertain you while you eat.
Festival Director John McClure says the festival’s purpose is to boost public interest in local food cycles, sharpen public focus on local economies across Northwest Arkansas, and bolster the regions’ attractiveness as a viable food destination.
Since the spirit of the festival is about supporting local food cycles from the farm to the table, it’s only fitting that it takes place simultaneously with Fayetteville Farmers Market. The Fayetteville square is known for its beautiful gardens and market that runs three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) beginning in spring and ending in early autumn. In addition to beautiful and fresh produce, you can buy cut flowers and art. (But beware, a couple of months ago my family went to the market to buy vegetables for stir fry I planned to cook later that evening. We ended up coming home with a dog from the Weimaraner Rescue that was showing off its dogs along the square.)
As part of the festival, there will also be “Artilicious-Food as Art,” an art exhibit of outlandish vegetable sculptures that will be created and judged.
Organizers hope to lay the groundwork for future annual festivals, and are partnering with local non-profit, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas and Ozark Slow Foods as a way of creating greater community cohesion.