If you haven’t attended Fork Fest before, you’re missing out on a great fall kickoff event! This year’s event, presented by Brewery Vivant, showcased over 30 local food and beverage vendors – all highlighting staple and seasonal treats. In addition to the food and beverages, local artists showcased their wares and unique pieces throughout the event. Live music also helped create a fun and festive ambiance. This family-friendly event offered something for everyone.
Reds at Thousand Oaks and Gravity Taphouse Grill, both part of the RedWater Restaurant Group, were in attendance this year. Now in their third year of participation, this continues to be an enjoyable and engaging event for them. Fork Fest “is a creative way to involve the community, to promote sustainability in Grand Rapids, and to encourage people to eat at local restaurants and to experience restaurants, breweries, etc. that they may not have been to before or may have forgotten about. It is also a great way for restaurants around the area to work together and to talk about their common goals,” says Marketing & Communications Director, Leanne Stoll.
Connie Flauchs, Community Relations Director of Slow Food West Michigan, echos these sentiments. Having served as a vendor for five years now, Flauches enjoys the intimate setting, which allows people to connect with fellow business entrepreneurs and community leaders. “This event is appealing because it is an easy way to access a large group of people that care about local food – which is a big part of our mission! The tasty samples and personal relationship that can be made at each booth are [also] big pluses,” she shares.
In addition to the personal connections being made and great food being enjoyed, this year’s event also incorporated the assistance of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) to aid with waste management. Stationed throughout the event were tables and assistants to help make it easier for attendees to properly dispose of their utensils and waste. According to their reports, the WMSBF helped make this a zero-waste event and diverted an estimated 60 pounds of recyclables and 1200 pounds of food waste and compostables from the landfill – compared to 20 pounds that were sent to the landfill.
Whether you were looking to have an enjoyable night out, connect with fellow Local First members or discover new-to-you local dining options, Fork Fest had you covered. If you missed it this year, be sure to pencil it in for your unofficial fall kickoff next year. You will not be disappointed.
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Fall is a beautiful season in West Michigan as the air becomes cooler and leaves on the trees transform from green to orange, red and yellow. With West Michigan being home to the Fruit Ridge – one of the best fruit-growing regions in the world – there is an abundance of orchards and farms to explore and plenty of apples and fresh cider to enjoy during the fall season.
From the statewide roll out of Good for Michigan to celebrating Local First’s 15th Anniversary to kicking off our annual Fork Fest in the fall, 2018 was an exciting year for Local First, our members, and community partners.