Rumbles: Spring Festival Weekend, Wild Wines, Pie Bake-off at The Root

Spring festival season has officially kicked off in Arkansas. It started last weekend with the Arkansas Pie Festival and continues with a trio of events this weekend. In Cabot, the 17th Annual Strawberry Festival will cover Friday and Saturday in the downtown area. Expect plenty of strawberries and strawberry-themed activities, as well as live music and crafts. Also this weekend is the International Food Festival at the Islamic Center of Little Rock. Expect plenty of Pakistani, Mediterranean and African food, as well as cuisines from other parts of the country. And of course, the big one is the second annual Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival, taking place this year at the Clinton Presidential Center. The event lasts from Friday through Sunday and features plenty of Italian food and wine, as well as food and game competitions.

And don’t forget that this weekend is the annual Wild Wines event at the Little Rock Zoo. This is always a big party, with hundreds of wines and more than 40 restaurants to sample from. And being a benefit for the zoo, Wild Wines will feature several “Animal Ambassadors” to make for a special experience. The “Mane Event” is Saturday night from 7 until 10 p.m.; the VIP event is Friday and features higher-end wines, better food, and live music from The Rodney Block Collective. Tickets for both events are still on sale; Friday VIP tickets are $150, while Saturday Mane Event tickets are $75. Proceeds go to benefit the Arkansas Zoological Foundation.

And as if you didn’t have enough going on this weekend, Sunday is the Fifth Annual Traditional Pie Bake-off and Recipe Swap at The Root Café in SoMa. I’ve been able to play a part in this in years past, and it is one of the most enjoyable cooking competitions I’ve ever been a part of. Dozens of pies and plenty of pie enthusiasts make this event a must. Judges this year include Dorie Greenspan, a five-time James Beard award winning cookbook author, as well as Pam Smith of Pam’s Picks, Matt Bell from South on Main, and Kat Robinson of Arkansas Pie. The event is free to attend. It starts Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.

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Finally, once this crazy weekend is done, you should make plans to hit up Flyway Brewing this coming Tuesday. Delta Biscuit Company is stopping by for another “Flying Biscuits” event, this time with New Orleans native and private chef Mindy Mitchell. We don’t have a menu for this one yet, but Mitchell is well-known for delicious takes on Louisiana classics. I personally have my fingers crossed for a crawfish biscuit of some kind. The dinner starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Flyway Brewing.

Big changes for Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. are coming soon. Check out our story of the beloved Chinese restaurant’s upcoming expansion and our related story on the closing of Hanaroo Sushi.

The weather this week has been great, and the weekend looks just as good. So get outside and visit some food trucks! Here’s our Truckin’ guide to where you can find them this week.

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Rumbles: Spring Festival Weekend, Wild Wines, Pie Bake-off at The Root