Tickets are now on sale for the Columbia Food and Wine Festival scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 23 at various locations around the greater Columbia region.
Events include everything from intimate chef dinners to hands-on culinary activities. The event is presented by Certified South Carolina and is now in its sixth year.
“Columbia’s food scene has blossomed over the past several years and consistently produces high-quality chefs and mixologists,” said festival organizer Chase Heatherly in a news release. “Our team has worked hard to create one-of-a-kind experiences that lift up the incredible culinary talent in our region. We hope the festival will spotlight Columbia on a regional scale and garner well-deserved attention for our talented and hardworking culinary community.”
The 2023 Festival schedule allows visitors to experience the creations of nearly 100 local chefs, mixologists, brew masters, sommeliers and more, the release said.
Events include the kickoff dinner from 6-9 p.m. April 19 at Motor Supply Co. Bistro in Columbia’s Vista district. A multi-course menu will be offered by Motor Supply’s executive chef Wes Fulmer, Frank Bradley of Hendrix and Blake Fairies of Loosh Culinaire.
“I have been involved with Columbia Food and Wine Festival since its inaugural year, and I always look forward to collaborating with local chefs and friends,” Fulmer said in the release. “I am excited to host the kickoff dinner at Motor Supply because we’re going to have fun with this menu highlighting fresh, spring flavors."
“Pasta and Pairings,” scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, will feature Pierce Bower, chef and owner of Dorsia Pasta Co., sharing the art of pasta making. This event will take place at the historic Pastor’s Study, 1633 Main St. Suite 100 in Columbia.
“Desserts and Digestifs” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 will be held in the lobby of Hotel Trundle on Taylor Street in pair dessert wines, aperitifs and other beverages with a selection of pastries and treats. The beverage portion of the event will be led by Tim Gardner, owner and head sommelier of Lula Drake. Local jazz musicians will perform.
A lineup of Main Street mixologists will participate in a cocktail competition at Mixer on Main: The Remix from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 21 on Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art. Guests and judges will taste and vote on more than 10 handcrafted cocktails. The drinks will be paired with live music, local art and food from restaurants in the Main Street District.
“Brunch and Bungies” on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to noon is hosted by Fit Columbia and sponsored by Publix. Guests will learn the local gym’s approach to sustainable fitness through bungee demonstrations and other events. The wellness-centered event will feature smoothies as well as sustainable foods and cocktails.
“Mezze on the Menu,” scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, will feature Greek, Lebanese and Middle eastern flavors as well as wine pairings. This event takes place at Pita’s, 1800 Taylor St. in Columbia and includes offerings from Mediterranean Tea Room, Arabesque and Always Original Bakery.
The “CAE Concert on the Runway” features food from Columbia’s food truck scene offered at the Eagle Aviation Hangar at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. A regional music act will perform at this event form 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 22.
The festival’s finale event will be the “Grand Tasting” from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at the historic Robert Mills House and Gardens, featuring food and drink from more than 60 area restaurants, breweries, mixologists and others. The event also features live music, live chef demonstrations, and artisan pop-up shops. VIP and Early Access ticket holders will receive entry one hour early at noon.
Proceeds from the festival benefit the Charitable Plate and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Foundation (SCRLF).
The Charitable Plate provides scholarships to fund the advancement and growth of future chefs, farmers, heritage foods, and educational pursuits to strengthen our local food system. SCRLF benefits the state’s hospitality industry by administering education and workforce development programs, industry certifications and more.
Since its debut in 2018, Columbia Food and Wine Festival has drawn more than 7,000 people at 26 events featuring more than 150 culinary partners in the greater Columbia region, according to the release. According to 2022 statistics, 48% of attendees came from outside Columbia and out-of-town guests have doubled in the past three years. In 2022, 14% of festival visitors came from outside the Midlands.
Tickets can be purchased online.