A new food festival is coming to Greater Williamsburg in April, and organizers have said the event will help rebrand the area as a place that’s more than just history.
The Williamsburg Taste Festival is set to come April 19-22 and intends to combine homegrown ‘culinary authenticity’ with Southern hospitality.
“It’s part of our long term plan to not only be seen as a preeminent history destination,” said Karen Riordan president of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance (GWCTA). “We see the taste festival as a way to really build our culinary destination.”
The festival will offer multiple food and drink tasting events for residents and tourists alike.
On Thursday, April 19, a kick-off event at the Williamsburg Community Building is set to pay “homage to the ‘Art of Culinary,’” showing ticketed guests various cooking demonstrations, such as chocolate sculpting and cake decoration.
The event will continue with events such as “Out and Abouts” in Williamsburg, and in James City and York Counties where festival-goers will have the opportunity to explore the different foodie destinations of Greater Williamsburg.
On Friday, April 20, “Out and Abouts” will continue, but another event “Friday Street Beats” hosted at the Williamsburg Community Building will be a “night of food, fun, and dancing in the streets,” according to a summary of events for the festival.
Food trucks, a cash bar, live music and yard games will be available for patrons of the festival.
Most of the festival is expected to occur at the Williamsburg Community Building on North Boundary Street, with a “culinary village” hosting a “taste tent.”
On Saturday, April 21, the tent will feature four main food stations, alcoholic drinks, cooking demonstrations, a play area for children to have fun and try new food, and an area highlighting the crops of local farmers, according to the summary of events.
On Sunday, April 22, the festival is hosting a brunch prepared by the “chef’s advisory council”: a group of chef’s who worked to make the festival happen. Each chef will prepare a part of a buffet style meal.
Beyond the Williamsburg Community Building’s “taste tent,” venues ranging in style and food will host some of the smaller events.
Restaurants such as La Tienda, Waypoint, Culture Cafe, Amber Ox, and others are hosting affiliated tasting events during the festival.
The event is the brainchild of local chefs, restaurateurs, and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, Riordan said.
The Williamsburg Taste Festival was created to expose tourists to the variety of restaurants, breweries, and “tastes” in the Greater Williamsburg area, according to Riordan.
Craft food and drink culture has pushed the economies of comparable cities forward, Riordan said. It could drive Williamsburg’s economy for years to come.
Expanding the notion that Greater Williamsburg has more than history is important for the area, Riordan said before noting, “ten years ago no-one was talking about Richmond as being a hot, thriving place for young professionals to come live and work.”
Richmond became more than its history, and an investment into the foodie scene in the state capital has paid dividends, according to Riordan.
“A lot of what has happened in terms of the renaissance in Richmond has to do with their food and beverage scene,” Riordan said. “It’s a place where people want to be. We believe we have a lot of those assets as well.”
Tickets for the festival will go on sale in Mid-January. To contact the reporter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.