Richmond food festival Broad Appétit serves up a good time

Several people making use of the picnic tables to enjoy food found at Broad Appétit. Courtesy of Taylor Mills, VCU CNS

RICHMOND, Va. (VCU CNS) — Enjoying sunny weather, live music and a lot of great food, several thousand people attended Sunday’s Broad Appétit festival, a fundraiser for the hunger relief organization FeedMore.

The event occupied a four-block stretch of West Broad Street, east of Belvidere Street, and it was bustling with activity. The street was lined by booths offering everything from the food that inspired the festival’s name to vendors selling clothes and jewelry. There was even a booth manned by a young celebrity chef.

“Last year, I judged Broad Appétit. It was a lot of fun tasting all of the unique flavors that they could create,” said 11-year-old Claire Hollingsworth, winner of the 2015 Chopped Junior competition on the Food Network.

Claire Hollingsworth (center), the Chopped Junior 2015 Champion, working a booth with her mother (right) and friend (left). Claire and her family run a business, Claire’s Cooking Lab. Courtesy of Taylor Mills, VCU CNS

Claire, along with her mother, Christina Hollingsworth, and a friend, was running a booth that sold seasonings made by Claire’s Cooking Lab. The seasonings were sprinkled on popcorn for people to sample.

Three stages were set up around Broad Appétit. Two featured local musicians who donated their time to perform at the event. On the third stage, several rounds of the Chef Showdown, the festival’s cooking competition, took place throughout the day.

People in blue Broad Appétit/FeedMore shirts passed out event maps and schedules served drinks at one of the four beer trucks and working the booth offering dishes made by the Community Kitchen, one of FeedMore’s programs.

Amory James, food services director for the Community Kitchen, was at the booth. “We provide and prepare meals for Meals on Wheels, Kids Café program, 11 adult day cares and also the Summer Food program,” James explained.

This was the 10th annual Broad Appétit festival, which is hosted by the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Since 2010, money raised during the festival has been donated to benefit FeedMore.

During Broad Appétit, most of the food stalls offered a limited selection from their restaurant menus for people to try. Some of the food vendors had prepared special dishes, hoping to be named this year’s Best Dish in a contest sponsored by Richmond Magazine. The competition was broken down into several categories: main dish, dessert, healthiest dish, best-decorated booth and the people’s choice.

Stuffed Avocado was one of the dishes served at the Uptown Alley booth during Broad Appétit. Courtesy of Taylor Mills VCU CNS

There was a constant flow of people arriving and leaving Broad Appétit, which was held between Henry and Adams streets.

Lt. Victor Green and Master Patrol Officer C. Ferrell of the Richmond Police Department estimated that more than 4,000 people were in the event area at any given time throughout the festival.

Capital News Service is a student-operated news reporting program sponsored by the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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