By Meghan Scalea

The Orange Downtown Alliance presents its fourth annual Edible Fest on August 8th in a celebration of food and those who produce it. The day-long event features cooking demonstrations, local food vendors, kids’ activities, and artisans producing kitchen- and meal-friendly products.

Back by popular demand, but with an expanded roster, the festival features cooking demonstrations by ten guest chefs from favorite kitchens across Virginia. Audiences get close-ups of knife skills and preparation techniques with the help of overhead cameras and large flat-screen TVs projecting each chef’s handiwork. Guest chefs include those from the acclaimed Ivy Inn, Clifton Inn, the Inn at Willow Grove, and more.

New for this year is a do-it-yourself tent where attendees can talk one-on-one with experts on topics like beekeeping, growing food and preparing it, raising chickens, and other culinary topics.

The festival was designed to be more than just a place to buy cool food, according to Jeff Curtis, Executive Director of Orange Downtown Alliance. “We’re taking it to the next level with the food message. You’re talking to the people who are raising the beef or growing the vegetables. Then you’ve got the chefs telling you how to prepare the product. We complement that with the food court where you can get some food and listen to music. Then you can look at nice accessories to buy for your kitchen or dining table. So we’ve covered all aspects of finding the source, how to prepare and present it.”

Curtis notes that more attendees are traveling from Richmond and northern Virginia to learn about where their food comes from. “We’re seeing a greater appreciation from those areas of the state,” he says. “Now folks are finding their farmers’ markets — they’re buying their food and learning how to prepare it from these farmers and vendors. That’s what the spirit of the festival is all about.”

Edible Fest is August 8 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., rain or shine. Admission for adults is $7. Children 12 and under are free. Learn more at www.ediblefest.com.

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