Street Food Festival finds home in Kampfires Campground
DUMMERSTON — A perfect spot for the first ever New England Street Food Festival was found in a wooded area in the back of Kampfires Campground.
The same team that owns the Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery — David Hiler, and Tim and Amy Brady — bought the campground last spring. Previously, the property was known as Hidden Acres.
"We ran it for one season kind of as is and then we have tried to create it more in our image, or our own desire for what we want," Hiler said. "Just like in the restaurant business, we wanted to create something different than what already existed in the area."
Like the Whetstone Station, the goal is about appealing to "a younger, hipper audience." The owners see the new venture as a natural progression.
"People like food, people like beer, people like camping," Hiler said. "So it's really the demographic from our restaurant coming out here to the campground."
Instead of an event like Taste of Vermont that focuses on foods and vendors found in the Green Mountain State, Hiler suggested a street food festival at Kampfires on Route 5 in Dummerston. The event is being held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 23.
"I think there's some confusion about it being a food truck festival," Hiler said. "We wanted to make it a street food festival so restaurants in and around the area could do their own little 'taste of the street,' if you will, rather than having a food truck."
So far, the buzz has been positive.
Hiler said he has been hearing a lot about it.
Brewers at the Whetstone Station are "plotting and scheming" to come up with something special for the festival, he told the Reformer. They have been making beers at the Whetstone for four years now.
Hiler had returned to the area after living in California cities. He said Brattleboro attracted him because it seemed to be "a microcosm of a much larger, hipper environment."
"I lived in San Francisco for a while, I loved it out there and it was very much home to me," he said. "I know this might be a stretch, but I see Brattleboro as kind of a mini version of San Francisco. It has the arts, the culture, the food, the music and the attitude."
Hiler hopes to hold similar events at the campground in the future.
Richard "Bud" Lolatte, advertising account representative for the Reformer, said the festival started with the newspaper's new ownership wanting to do something for the community.
Some ideas were thrown around. But they kept coming back to one.
"We have a great street food scene in Brattleboro and partnering with David was natural here," Lolatte said at the campground. "This is a beautiful facility and we've got some great bands lined up."
The Gaslight Tinkers and OHWEGO, a band made up of local musicians, will be playing at the festival. New England Center for Circus Arts also will be performing and providing juggling classes. No entry fee is required. But donations of non-perishable food items to the Vermont Food Bank are suggested.
Other sponsors include Brattleboro Subaru, Brattleboro Country Club, Cornerstone Risk Management and C&S Wholesale Grocers.
Additional activities and information will be announced at nestreetfood.com and facebook.com/NEStreetfoodfest. Interested vendors can contact Lolatte at 802-254-2311, ext. 257, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.
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