5 food events planned during Fayetteville Roots Fest

Last year’s VIP Party and Grand Tasting during the Fayetteville Roots Festival

Photos: Meredith Mashburn

We’ve mentioned this before, but in case you haven’t heard, the folks behind Fayetteville Roots Festival are seriously stepping up their food game at this year’s event.

Since it began, local food and farmers have always been a big part of the event. This year, the event has expanded to include a full-scale food festival in addition to the already sprawling schedule of music programming happening all over Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

There’s so much food-related programming this year, so we put together this handy guide for the five major food events planned so y’all can decide what you don’t want to miss.

In addition to the events listed below, there are also chef master classes at Brightwater in Bentonville on Friday, with demonstrations and book signings that are also open to the public (here’s more info about that.)

Of course, there’s also a whole music festival happening in town. Here’s a link to the initial music lineup we wrote about in January, and more info on the music scheduled during this year’s event is available at the festival website.

Fayetteville Roots Festival is set for Aug. 23-26 at various locations around Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

1. Roots Chef Dinner

What: The Roots Chef Dinner is basically the culinary kick off for this year’s festival, set for Wednesday night at the 21C Hotel in Bentonville. The event will include five world-class Roots Festival guest chefs creating a five-course experience, to include beverage pairings with each course from Pink House Alchemy.
When: Wednesday, Aug. 22. Doors at 5 p.m., dinner from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., “patio hang” from 7-8 p.m.
Where: The Hive (Bentonville)
Who: Chef Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville, TN), Chef Matthew McClure (The Hive at 21C, Bentonville, AR), Chef Phoebe Lawless (Scratch, Durham, NC), Chef Matthew Bell (South on Main, Little Rock, AR), Chef Luke Wetzel (Oven & Tap, Bentonville, AR)
Tickets: $100, on sale here

2. Roots at the Record

What: Another kick-off event that could serve as somewhat of an alternative to the sit-down-style dinner happening at 21C, this event features music by legendary artists Mavis Staples and Booker T. Jones, along with incredible food prepared at tasting stations set up around the venue for sampling. The event will feature national and regional chefs paired with local/regional chefs creating collaborative dishes together. There’s a good chance you could catch quite a bit of the music at this event after the dinner at 21C, too, if you want the best of both worlds.
When: Wednesday, Aug. 22, doors at 5:30 p.m., tasting at 6 p.m., music at 7:15 p.m.
Where: The Record (Bentonville)
Who: Chefs include Chef Merlin Verrier (Denver, CO) & Chef Patrick Lane (Arsaga’s Depot, Fayetteville, AR), Chef Digby Stridiron (St. Croix, VI) & Chef Reed Faitak (Austin Daily Press, Austin, TX)), Chef Anton Abrezov (St. Petersburg, RS) & Chef Rob Nelson (Tusk & Trotter, Bentonville, AR), Chef Jason Paul (Heirloom, Rogers, AR) & Chef Sarah Chase (Indigo Hotel, Tulsa, OK), Chef, Casey Copeland (The Avenue, Hot Springs, AR) & Chef Justus Moll (River Grille, Bentonville, AR), Chef Matthew Cooper (Preacher’s Son, Bentonville, AR) & Chef Travis McConnell (Pressroom, Bentonville, AR) & Chef William McCormick (Eleven at Crystal Bridges, Bentonville, AR)
Tickets: $49, on sale here.

3. VIP Party and Grand Tasting

What: Hands down one of the best nights of the year in Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Roots Festival VIP Party and Grand Tasting used to only be available to a limited number of sponsors, volunteers, and VIP pass-holders. This year, the event has also been opened up to holders of a new “VIP Culinary Pass” made available this year, a few of which are still available (VIP passes sold out months ago). With an intimate garden-party type atmosphere with only 1,200 guests in attendance, the event includes more than 40 national, regional, and local chefs preparing creative dishes at tasting booths around the Pratt Place Inn and Barn grounds. Visiting chefs include Chef Edward Lee, Chef Tandy Wilson, Chef Merlin Verrier, Chef Digby Stridiron & Chef Asha Gomez, Chef Shaun O’Neale, Chef Anton Abrezov, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, and many, many others. In addition to the incredible food and beverages scattered through the grounds, the event also includes an open bar featuring craft cocktails and featured local and regional breweries, along with musical performances by Del McCoury Band, Flaco Jiménez, and Charlie Hunter Trio, and more.
When: Thursday, Aug. 23. Gates open at 5 p.m., tasting begins at 5:30, and music starts at 6 p.m.
Where: The grounds of Pratt Place Inn & Barn, Fayetteville
Who: More than 40 national, regional, and local chefs
Tickets: No individual tickets available. Access to this event is available through purchase of a festival VIP pass, or a VIP Culinary Pass. VIP Culinary Passes are $199, on sale here.

Preparing food during last year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival VIP Party and Grand Tasting

Photos: Meredith Mashburn

4. Roots Food and Spirits

What: A brand new event debuting in 2018, Roots Food and Spirits is a day-long celebration of food and drink at Pratt Place Inn and Barn. The event will include ten “culinary zones” set up around the grounds. There will be a main stage, with renowned visiting chefs participating in a “Taste & Talk” series featuring demonstrations, followed by the opportunity to taste the unique dishes created on stage.

In addition, a tasting tent on the grounds will feature chefs partnered with local breweries to create unique food and beer pairings, and later, food and cocktail pairings.

There will be spirits stations, a foraging workshop, a culinary kitchen classroom featuring demonstrations on everything from the science of cheese, to Kombucha 101 and no-waste cooking, a high school Iron Chef cookoff, a bar chef competition, and tons more.

Basically, they’re turning Pratt Place into an all-day Disney World for people who like to eat, drink, talk, and learn about food. In addition to the food, there will be a musical performance by Tulsa artist, Branjae, to close out the evening. We’re planning a follow up to this post with more information including a full schedule about the event, so look for that soon.
When: Saturday, Aug. 25. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., and tastings begin at 11 a.m.
Where: Grounds of Pratt Place Inn & Barn
Chefs: Most of the chefs attending the festival will play a part in this brand new event.
Tickets: $50 G.A./ $150 VIP, on sale here

5. Tri Cycle Farms Jamboree

What: Afternoon programming with a farm party theme, including farm tours and family friendly activities, the Art Feeds Bus with crafts and kids programming, food tastings, ice cream social, live music, craft bar and more. Musical performances with The Wild Rivers, Adam Cox
When: Sunday, August 26. Doors at 11:30 a.m., event begins at noon.
Where: Tri Cycle Farms (Fayetteville)
Chefs: TBA
Tickets: $20, on sale here

A chef plates a dish during last year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival

Photos: Meredith Mashburn