Attention foodies! There will be plenty to keep you busy at this year’s Riverfest.
Things get going with Flowing on the River, a wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres tasting event (a.k.a. “the party before the party”) that will be held on Thursday, May 22nd from 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. in the River Market pavilions. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door.
New to Riverfest is the Amstel Light Best Burger in Arkansas Competition. This event takes place on the grounds of Heifer International in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Family Free Zone on Saturday, May 24th at 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Saturday, May 24th. Please note, this competition is not within the official Riverfest festival but in the free family zone, so no Riverfest admission wristband or ticket is required. It’s just a $5 fee to taste burgers and to vote on fan favorite. The competition is open to restaurants only. Currently, Big Orange, David’s Burgers, EJ’s, Stratton’s Market, Café 42 and Heifer Café will be competing.
Ice cream lovers, rejoice … Yarnell’s FreezeFest ice cream eating contest, hosted at their KidZone Stage, is sure to be a festival favorite. Participants will be selected on site ( walk-ups are encouraged). Go to this Yarnell’s Facebook page for more information. Competitions will be held on Saturday, May 24th at 1:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., as well as Sunday, May 25th at 2:45 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
In the mood to do some good? Festival-goers are encouraged to donate at least one non-perishable food item to the Food Drive for the Arkansas Food Bank. Collection sites will be at festival gateways and also at Little Rock and North Little Rock shuttle sites. Gateway donors will be given a free Coke product coupon (redeemable inside the festival), and shuttle stop donors will be given $1 off their $4 round-trip shuttle ride.
And finally, patrons can expect to see plenty of vendors and food trucks. Here’s a complete list of vendors: Cristi’Ali Cuisine, Dry Creek Concessions, Flossie’s, Kathy’s Kabana, Linda Chan’s, Nucci’s, Ozark Candies and Nuts, Papa John’s, Riverside Catering, Santa Lucia, Taste of the Caribbean, The Chill Factory, The Original Corn Roast, The Tea Box, W&M Concessions, Patsy’s Sugar Shack, RJ’s Pizza, Katie’s Kickin’ Chicken, Bubba’s Bacon and Bryant’s Barbecue and Catering. Anything from roasted corn to oxtail stew to deep fried banana pudding to chocolate-covered bacon on a stick will be served! And that’s just scratching the surface. (Note: only “River Money” accepted by vendors inside the festival. No cash transactions with vendors inside festival boundaries.)
The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill™ will also be on hand, with the ability to churn out more than 750 brats at a time and approximately 2,500 per hour.
Look for local food trucks in the Dem-Gaz Family Free Zone at Heifer on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll be accepting real money only (not “River Money” coupons). On Saturday, expect to see The Southern Gourmasian, David’s Burgers and Waffle Wagon. On Sunday, Cheto’s Authentic Mexican, Food Commander and Fat Bouy’s should be on hand.
So, be safe and have some fun at Riverfest. And if you eat something great, let us know!
*Photo courtesy of Riverfest representatives