Small bites: Festival season comes to a head

MORE BEES, PLEASE: This year's Organicfest theme — "Bee Organic" — pays tribute to the most famous group of pollinators, and much of the day's programming, including a Pollinator Parade, will honor the important work of these buzzing helpers. Photo courtesy of Organicfest

Organicfest

More than just a descriptor for pricey food, the term “organic” encapsulates an entire sustainable lifestyle for many. That’s one point organizers hope to drive home among attendees of Asheville’s 14th annual Organicfest.

“Our goal is to create an organic city,” says Debi Athos, co-founder and director of the free downtown event, which showcases more than 100 vendors of eco-friendly products and services in addition to handmade arts and crafts.

This year’s theme — Bee Organic — highlights the life-sustaining work of pollinators. Accordingly, Bee City USA, Holy Bee Press, Bee the Change and Wild Mountain Bees have been invited to “help share the importance of organics in relation to supporting the pollinators,” Athos says. Organizers have also planned an earthloom tapestry creation and Pollinator Parade — dress as your favorite good bug! — that begins at 1 p.m.

“Organic farmers are not having the challenges that chemical-based farming and agriculture are with honeybees, so we want to share that information as well as inspire the community on how we can create a bee-friendly environment,” Athos says. “Without the honeybees, we won’t be celebrating organics.”

For entertainment, the festival features the homegrown live tunes of local artists Chris Rosser, Sheri Lynn, Greenway and more. Organizers will also raffle off donated gift certificates and goody baskets throughout the evening, culminating with a final prize drawing at 5:30 p.m., proceeds from which benefit Bee City USA.

Athos says the volunteers powering Organicfest Inc. — the nonprofit managing the festival — are working on professionalizing and expanding their impact this year, “so watch out for new and exciting events, starting in the beginning of 2016.”

Organicfest 2015 is at Pack Square Park on Sunday, Aug. 30, from 10 a.m. To 6 p.m. Visit organicfest.org for more information.

BaconFest

In a town that’s obsessed with artisan foods, bacon is a staple ingredient. The third annual BaconFest Asheville gives roughly two dozen local eateries the chance to show off their best pork-packed creations, from savory to sweet and everything in between. Samples are piled high at the event, which calls on attendees to vote for top dishes in several categories. The family-friendly gathering also includes live music by Bayou Diesel, a photo booth and bounce house.

Like any good host, Highland Brewing Co. is whipping up specialty beverages for guests. Twists on the brewery’s staple beers include Gaelic Ale with brown sugar and black pepper, Oatmeal Porter with cayenne pepper and Black Mocha Stout with maple.

Baconfest Asheville is at Highland Brewing Co.’s outdoor meadow, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 1-4 p.m. Visit baconfestasheville.com for information and tickets, which cost $15 per person. A portion of the festival’s proceeds benefit Blue Ridge Food Ventures.

MusicFest

The house party that keeps on growing, MusicFest annually draws music lovers with a social conscience to the residence of local doctor Benjamin Gilmer. This year’s entertainment lineup features Kinobe and JaJa, Zansa, Kari Sickenberger, Vince Jr. Band and other local music acts. Gilmer has also organized for several food trucks, including The Gypsy Queen Cuisine and El Torito, to keep attendees’ energy levels up as they enjoy the overnight event’s bounce house, hayrides, trampolines, silent auction and yard games. Twin Leaf Brewery and New Belgium Brewing Co. will provide beer, while Josh Spurling of Table Wine pours wines. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit medical nonprofit Shoulder to Shoulder and the Mountain Area Health Education Center’s rural and global health programs.

Visit musicfest2015.eventbrite.com for more information or tickets, which start at $25 per person.

CiderFest NC

With higher-than-beer alcohol by volume, mini-hard cider pours add up rather quickly — a particularly relevant sentiment for tasters at CiderFest NC 2015, which features more than 20 cider makers and two local mead makers (Bee & Bramble and Fox Hill Meadery) for the first time ever. The festival also boasts food pairings, local arts and crafts, a green-living-themed interactive children’s area, a home-cider-making booth and multiple unplugged performances by buskers positioned sporadically among exhibitors.

CiderFest NC 2015 is at the WNC Farmers Market, 570 Brevard Road, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 1-5 p.m. Tickets for the expected sell-out event are on sale now at ciderfestnc.com.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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