LEXINGTON, Va. (VIRGINIAN REVIEW) – Jumpstart Independence Day celebrations with Freedom Food Festival in downtown Lexington on Sunday, July 3, 2022 from 5 until 10 p.m.
After a pandemic hiatus, Freedom Food Festival is once more taking over Main Street with Chef-prepared picnic fare and free concerts, plus offers a new perk for those who enjoy a beer or glass of wine with a meal. Tables with seating for eight may be reserved online and include a water and meal ticket per seat; it’s an ideal way to enjoy the atmosphere as the sun sets on downtown Lexington.
Freedom Food Festival is more than an exciting evening street festival; it is a tasty fundraising event. Local chefs and restaurants are paired with seven non-profit organizations to create July 4th picnic-style fare. Festivalgoers support the non-profits when they trade their cook-off meal ticket for the food of their choice. “People’s Choice” tickets can also be purchased to spread the love around to other participating non-profits.
· Chef Laurie Macrae and Southern Inn will prepare spicy noodles, lime Asian slaw, and grilled tofu to benefit Boxerwood Education Association.
· Coach David Miller is paired with CHEFS Catering to serve smoked chicken thighs, bourbon baked beans, and slaw on behalf of Rockbridge County High School Golf Team.
· Friends of Natural Bridge State Park hope to be rewarded for the efforts of Park Manager Jim Jones and CHEFS Catering, who are grilling brats and offering corn-on-the-cob and macaroni and cheese.
· Cooking for Rockbridge Area Transportation System is their Executive Director Michelle Watkins and Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Together they are preparing a spread of Backyard BBQ bowl-pulled whole hog, Mexican street corn dip, crumbled jalapeño and sour cream cornbread, hop brined pickles, and DBB Juicy Magic IPA-spiked watermelon ball.
· The Community Table of Rockbridge is supporting itself alongside Chef David Faulds to create a chicken salad wrap accompanied by a fresh fruit cup.
· Lexington Golf & Country Club is paired with Preston Perry to prepare Texas style pulled chicken sliders with sweet and spice sauce and pickles on a brioche bun, plus a summer veggie pasta salad. Their non-profit is Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center.
· The Lexington Police Foundation is offering up Chief Angela Greene to cook with Sweet Treats Bakery to serve pollo enchilada with mole sauce, white rice with stewed black beans, and fried plantains.
Cook-off meal tickets and table reservations are available at FreedomFoodFestival.com. Tickets are $15 in advance (plus a surcharge) or $20 the day of the event. Tables for eight are $250 plus a surcharge and must be reserved by July 3.
Aside from the cook-off meals, there are pay-as-you-go opportunities. For example, kids are likely to enjoy a hot dog and popcorn served on a frisbee and benefiting Hull’s Angels, Inc. They will also be treated to a snow cone with their meal. Treat yourself to a treat, too. Slices of homemade pies and scoops of ice cream benefit Friends of Rockbridge Swimming, Inc.
“One of the things we’re most excited for at this years Freedom Food Festival is DORA,” said Patty Williams, Director of Marketing for Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism. “DORA stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, which allows for the consumption of restaurant-purchased alcohol within the festival area. Participating restaurants will check IDs and sell a Freedom Food Festival wristband, which will allow folks to purchase a drink. Beverages must be consumed from a restaurant-branded container, however.”
Three renown bands are performing live on Main Street – for free – for Freedom Food Festival. Together they will ignite the crowd with their rock-infused spins on bluegrass and folk.
Kicking things off at 5 p.m. is Acoustic Syndicate, a North Carolina-based trio with a dedicated regional following. At 7 p.m. the dynamic duo of Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley take the stage. Ickes is a 15-time International Bluegrass Music Association award-winner and Hensley played the Grand Old Opry at age 11. The festival headliner is 49 Winchester out of Russell County, Virginia. The six-man band delivers a pulse-pounding show that bends genres into something un-nameable, according to lead singer Isaac Gibson who said, “I don’t think anybody’s ever known quite what to call it.”
For more information about Freedom Food Festival to go FreedomFoodFestival.com.