Fort Worth’s Food and Wine Festival returned this week after a two-year hiatus and was met with thousands of attendees.
The festival started on Thursday and will end on Sunday. This year, more than 150 businesses are participating in six festival events. All of the events have sold out, according to festival co-founder Russell Kirkpatrick.
“We’ve had lines gathering at the gates an hour before we actually opened the gates, so you can really tell there’s some anticipation from the community to get out and celebrate,” Kirkpatrick said. “These are a lot of small, independent restaurants that we really try to highlight. There’s not a lot of corporate bank checks being written for these little mom and pop shops that participate, so it’s great to get them in front of 1,100 each night or afternoon to tell them where they’re at, what they make, what they have, and really get them some publicity for these mom and pops.”
Overall, Kirkpatrick said he expects about 7,000 attendees throughout the festival’s four day run. Proceeds from the festival go to the Fort Worth Food and Wine Foundation, which raises funds for local grant programs and culinary scholarships. To date, the foundation raised more than $200,000 for grants and scholarships supporting deserving culinary students from Fort Worth.
One of the restaurants that has participated in the festival every year since its start in 2014 is Fred’s Texas Café.
“After taking a two year break, this is exciting and a little nerve wracking. A lot of us, this is our first festival or first outdoor event since 2020 or 2019. Some of us are real rusty” owner Quincy Wallace said. “Not only has this festival not been around for two years. None of the festivals, events or charities that we are able to support have been able to do it, so a lot of us are just starting to get back out.”
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The foundation also launched relief efforts during the pandemic and distributed more than $115,000 to restaurants, according to Kirkpatrick. Some of the lingering issues many restaurants are still dealing with are staffing and challenges with the supply chain, Wallace said.
“Sometimes we can’t get cups. Sometimes we can’t get lids,” Wallace said.
Festival goers said they were excited to have the event back. Mark Bucek’s purchased ticket allowed him to enter the festival early Saturday and ahead of the crowds.
“There’s just not a whole of options for events like this, you know? So when something like this comes up, we jumped right on it,” Bucek said.
For more information on the festival, click here.