Food Fest Deadline Nears For Vendors

Food Fest logoWESTFIELD- Elm Street will once again flourish with the tastes and sounds of the Greater Westfield area as the Rotary Club of Westfield sponsors its second annual Westfield Food Fest Aug. 26-28.

“With many new eateries opening since our last event, we plan to reach out and encourage them to consider joining the event,” said Eric Forish, event coordinator, adding “There has also been a strong interest by musicians to participate.”

Forish noted that with the successful launch last year of its first two-day Food Fest, Rotarians decided to extend the event to three days. Westfield Food Fest is planned Aug. 26, 5 to 9 p.m., Aug. 27, noon to 9 p.m., and Aug. 28, noon to 6 p.m. Tented seating will be available for patrons.

“We had perfect weather and thousands of people attended last year,” said Forish, noting the overall goal is to bring area residents back to the downtown area.

“Last year we also had continuous music throughout the event and plan to rotate bands again this year from the musical stage in front of Westfield Bank,” said Forish.

Forish said he expects close to 25 food vendors to offer a unique variety of edibles, ranging from traditional fare of soups and sandwiches to business specialties and ice cream.

Westfield Rotarians Rick Buzzee, Chris Carey and Kevin Donovan will return to work the beer and wine truck for the 2016 Food Fest.

Westfield Rotarians Rick Buzzee, Chris Carey and Kevin Donovan will return to work the beer and wine truck for the 2016 Food Fest.

At press time, vendors committed to participate include Bistro Bus, featuring soft tacos with a choice of pork or chicken, as well as specialty salads; Silver Platter Mobile Catering, selling Philly cheese steak sandwiches; Buster’s, offering hot dogs and sandwiches; Ed & Angie’s Food Truck, showcasing specialties including hot and cold soups, grilled sandwiches, Hungarian vegetable stew over rice, and desserts; Moe’s Donuts, selling an assortment of doughnuts; Angelo’s Fried Dough, specializing in fried dough, homemade pretzels and lemonade; Ed’s French Fries, selling French fries and beverages; JND Amusements, offering candied apples, cotton candy, and a variety of novelties; Pasquale’s, selling pizza; the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, offering popcorn and ice cream, and the Boy Scouts selling watermelon. Additionally, Sun Kim Bob’s Korean Food Truck will be offering specialties, as well as Janik’s Pierogi Café, Papp’s Grill and the Shortstop Bar & Grill.

All vendors will be located on Elm Street between Franklin Street and Main Street.

Rotarians will once again sell beer and wine “to enhance the overall experience,” notes Jennifer Gruszka, Rotary president.

A deadline of June 15 has been set for vendors from restaurants and caterers to food trucks to sign up to participate. All of the details for vendors can be found at www.westfieldrotary.org.

Lynn Boscher and Robert Herrick are coordinating the logistics of the weekend’s entertainment and those interested in more information about performing are also encouraged to visit the website.

Gruszka has been assisting Forish with the logistics, along with Tim Flynn, Rotary’s president-elect, and committee members Boscher and Herrick, on entertainment; Rick Teodore, handling the finances; Joe Rouse, organizing food vendors, and Rene Laviolette, overseeing children’s activities.

“It is a real team effort for this type of event and Rotary members thank Mayor Brian Sullivan, the City Council members, the Licensing Commission, the Board of Health, the Westfield Gas & Electric, and other City departments including public works and water, as well as the city police and firefighters, for all of their assistance,” said Gruszka.

Local nonprofit organizations interested in sharing their message with free displays are also welcome, and groups including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts wanting to volunteer to help Rotarians, are all encouraged to reach out through the Rotary’s website.

“New this year will be a children’s tent with activities ranging from arts and crafts to face painting,” said Gruszka.

Coordinating an event of this magnitude also takes the support of many sponsors, and Forish just announced that Westfield Bank has signed on as the event’s major sponsor.

“We wish to thank them for their continued support to the Westfield community and beyond,” said Forish.

Sponsorships are available at all levels, ranging from “Diamond” for $1,500; to “Platinum,” $1,250; “Gold,” for $1,000, and “Silver” for $500. Additionally, “Friendship Opportunities” range from a “Bronze” sponsorship of $250-$499, or a “Friends of Rotary,” for $100-$249. For details, visit the Rotary’s website.

As a service organization, Westfield Rotarians are continuously giving back to the community throughout the year, from monthly Westfield Food Pantry donations to scholarships for high school students. Forish noted that proceeds raised from last year’s Food Fest helped fund the new outdoor movie theater for the Amelia Park Children’s Museum, as well as for ballistic plates for vests used by a special response team on the Westfield Police Department.

“Last year this event attracted thousands of visitors to the downtown area,” said Forish. “The Rotary Club expects this year’s event to be bigger and better.”

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