As food festivals of all kinds grow more and more popular across the Eastern Townships, Richmond has decided to throw its own hat into the ring with the first annual Wolfe BBQ fest. Set to take place the 2nd 3rd and 4th of October, the festival will highlight local products with an emphasis on BBQ and meat production.
“We wanted to create a major event that would highlight what this region has to offer,” said Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Hélène Tousignant. “Roxane Labonté of Les gars de Saucisse, who also wanted to organize some sort of festival, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. We decided to combine our efforts.”
Pointing to the Val-St-Francois as the second largest region in the province for agro-alimentation, Tousignant said that it only made sense to create a food festival and, having decided that they noticed the lack of events focused on barbeque in the Townships.
“We wanted to highlight our own region without stepping on anyone’s toes,” the Chamber of Commerce President said, “but in the end what we’ll have is going to be quite unique.
Project Director Paul Purcell explained that the main idea behind the Wolfe Barbeque Fest is to create an event that highlights and benefits the whole region. As such, the programming is focused on family friendly activities that cover a wide range of interests all focused through the lens of local food products, with a particular attention to barbequed meat. Over the course of the three days, visitors will be able to taste and explore offerings from a variety of local vendors and restaurants, watch a professional cooking competition, and take part in seven different workshops being offered by experienced celebrity chefs.
“We invite everyone from the region and from elsewhere,” Tousignant said. “We’re hoping for as many as 4000-5000 people.”
Friday evening will see Richmond’s town centre come alive with a street fair. Along the one-way section of Main Street, festival goers will be able to sample food from local producers amid animation like fire breathers during an animated evening involving fire breathers, an eating competition, and a torchlit kayak ride down the Saint Francis River.
“The idea was really to get all the merchants of Richmond involved,” Purcell said.
Saturday will see events move to the area around the Richmond community centre and arena. The focal event of the day and of the festival itself will be the amateur and professional cooking competition, but Saturday will also involve an information fair with local food producers, a ticketed “Brazilian Supper” in the evening, and a nighttime concert.
Purcell was particularly excited about the supper, describing it as meat-centric buffet event with flamboyant feathered dancers.
On Sunday local restaurant owners will continue to present their goods and culinary worshops will continue, but the organizers highlighted the tourist circuit that has been built into the festival. Starting at 11am and leaving every 30 minutes, shuttle busses will depart from the central festival site for four local tourist attractions, the Richmond County Historical Society, the Slate Interpretation Centre, the Ulverton Wool Mill, and the Richmond Arts Centre. Visitors will be able to get off and visit at any of the sites and then catch another shuttle later to get to the Arts Centre, where the festival will end with a concert at 2pm.