Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival sells out again
The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, in what would have been its 10th year if not for COVID-19, had another strong run this year, says Russell Kirkpatrick, co-founder of the festival.
Tickets to the various events at the April festival, headlined by Noche del Soul and The Main Event, sold out.
The festival is still running numbers, but it estimates attendance at more than 7,000, Kirkpatrick says. Organizers will know in June how much money it raised for culinary scholarships and other programs.
“Our goal is six figures,” Kirkpatrick says. The nonprofit Food + Wine Festival Foundation launched the event in 2014. The festival was canceled in 2020 because of COVID and was held in an abbreviated format in 2021.
“Our goal is to learn something every year,” Kirkpatrick says
This year, the festival added more tickets to its inventory by getting a better handle of how many sponsor and media tickets were going unused, Kirkpatrick says.
At The Main Event, the festival improved the availability of trash cans and restrooms in response to an annual survey of patrons, he says. It also replaced one big food and beverage tent at The Main Event with three smaller ones. “There was a percentage of patrons who never made it out of that big tent,” he says.
But the festival is hearing from food and beverage vendors that patronage of the three tents this year was uneven, Kirkpatrick says
“I feel like everybody went to the same tents. Everybody went to tent A, 50 percent B, 30 percent tent C.”
Twenty-two food and beverage vendors participated in The Main Event, and each expected to give away 650-700 portions of what they were serving, Kirkpatrick says. At those levels, the festival estimated patrons would each get to try food from 12-13 places, he says. “At some point, you can only eat so much.”
Culinary participants largely donate their foods. This year, for the first time and thanks to sponsorship from companies like the beef purveyor Rosewood Ranches, the festival gave each restaurant a $500 stipend
“One of the goals was to encourage the smaller restaurants that might not have the funds,” Kirkpatrick says. “We knew that hurdle was pretty prohibitive. … We want to make sure we’re giving the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the small individual restaurants.”