Nonprofit Columbia Food & Wine Festival Launches Tickets for April 24-28 Events

The Festival Recently Transitioned into a Nonprofit and Refreshed Branding, Prepares for its Biggest Year Yet

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(Columbia, SC) — The Columbia Food & Wine Festival has released event details, and tickets are on sale for the seventh annual event, happening April 24 – 28. Equipped with its new charitable status and a refreshed brand, the festival continues its trajectory of intentional growth that places the culinary community at its forefront. The restyled 5-day festival will hold at least 12 events encompassing different flavor profiles and traditions across the greater Columbia region. This year’s event is once again being presented by Certified South Carolina. Tickets are on sale, and details are available online at columbiafoodandwinefestival.com.

“It’s exciting for Columbia to host this celebration of our nationally accredited culinary community. Columbia has a thriving small business scene, and locally owned restaurants are the heart and soul of our city,” says City of Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann. “With many festival-goers coming from outside the city, the festival brings attention, support, and dollars to our local economy. This event is perfect for tourists and locals alike to experience Columbia and support local businesses.”

Since its inception in 2018, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has welcomed over 9,600 guests to 34 events featuring 274 culinary partners from across the region. Dishes from Northeast Columbia to Lexington County and areas in between have been presented year after year. In 2023, 51% of paid ticketholders came from outside the city of Columbia, and 17% came from outside the Midlands region. Ticketholders represented a total of nine states and 102 unique zip codes.

New Nonprofit Status to Grow Festival’s Impact

From the start, Columbia Food & Wine Festival’s primary goal was to spotlight and support the region’s culinary community. Through chef stipends and profit sharing with local business owners, Columbia Food & Wine Festival prioritizes the needs of its culinary partners.

Columbia Food and Wine Festival has been transferred into a nonprofit limited liability company wholly owned by The Post and Courier Foundation. As a nonprofit, the festival is able to expand its efforts while continuing to give back in a bigger way. The festival will also continue to support the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Foundation (SCRLF), a nonprofit beneficiary that has been involved with the festival since 2020.

“This has been our vision from the very beginning,” says Chase Heatherly, festival co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of The Post and Courier + Evening Post Publishing. “As our festival grows, we will continue with our core values of spotlighting our local hospitality talent and restaurant community. This nonprofit designation is a big milestone as we continue to keep our focus on supporting local, providing food-based education opportunities, and providing our guests with an unforgettable experience.”

Along with its charitable designation, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has reinstated its strategic growth committee, formed by a group of hospitality, tourism, and creative professionals who drive the creation and execution of events while guiding the festival’s growth.

The 2023-2024 Columbia Food & Wine Festival Strategic Growth Committee includes the following individuals:

Katherine Daly, South Carolina Department of Agriculture; Ashley Elsey, Communications Consultant; Wes Fulmer; Mattison Heatherly, City Social Co; Caroline Jeffords, Republic National Distributing Company; Ashley Lambert, Steel Hands Brewing; Darterian Moore, Breakthru Beverage; Mike-Wine-Guy; Kristian Niemi, Bourbon, Black Rooster, Dragon Room; Charlene Slaughter, Experience Columbia SC; Mike Tourville; Javier Uriarte, Ratio; Alexandra Woodlief, Alexandra Madison Weddings; and festival organizers: Lindsay Teague Conine, South Carolina Event Productions; Kelly Glynn, Village Idiot Pizza, Chase Heatherly, The Post and Courier.

“It’s exciting to see so many players come together to celebrate our local culinary community,” says Kristian Niemi, owner of Bourbon, Black Rooster, Dragon Room and member of Columbia Food & Wine Festival Strategic Growth Committee. “I’ve seen our city and food scene ebb and flow over the years, and I believe we’re on the rise — the growth of this festival is a reflection of that.” 

More on the Columbia Food & Wine Festival Event Lineup

This year’s festival has more events and chef collaborations than ever before. New this year, the opening night celebrations will include a tasting event in addition to the beloved kickoff dinner so more people can join in on the celebration. For the first time, the festival will introduce a Friday lunch event to accommodate the increased number of visitors coming from out of town. The renowned Grand Tasting will expand its layout and offerings, growing the Sunday event to both the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Robert Mills House.

Kickoff Dinner at Private Property Sponsored by Certified SC

Wed., April 24 | 6pm-9pm | Private Property

Hosted at Private Property, experience multiple courses and beverage pairings that represent a narrative of South Carolina’s rich culinary landscape from chefs Trip Chalk (Private Property), Chris Williams (Roy’s Grille), and Mike Ellis (Smoked, The Grand on Main, The Main Course, Good Life Cafe, The Players Club, and 518 Smokehouse).

Iconic Dishes of Columbia: Main Street Edition Sponsored by Main Street District

Wed., April 24 | 6pm-8pm | Arcade Mall

A new tasting event series for the festival, this evening features a selection of iconic dishes handpicked from local favorite Main Street restaurants. Complementing these exquisite flavors will be an array of local brews and crafted cocktails, courtesy of premium spirit provider Diageo.

Collaborative Kitchen: Hampton Street Vineyard, Farmers Xchange, Tom’s Creek Family Farm

Wed., April 24 | 6pm-9pm | HSV

Hosted at Hampton Street Vineyard (HSV), featuring a multi-course menu from chef Jamie Pyatt (HSV) and produce sourced from Farmers Xchange and Tom’s Creek Family Farm. Wine pairings are meticulously selected by Jonathan Lopez, managing partner at HSV and Columbia’s advanced sommelier.

Collaborative Kitchen: Bodhi Thai & Ratio

Thursday, April 25 | 6:00pm-8pm | Bodhi Thai

Discover SC Chef Ambassador Javier Uriate (Ratio) and International Culinary School graduate Nivit Tipvaree (Bodhi Thai) come together for a four-course feast that melds the vibrant flavors of their respective heritages.

Asian Night Market

Thursday, April 25 | 6:30pm-9pm | Dragon Room

Hosted by The Dragon Room, this outdoor tasting event, featuring multiple local restaurants, is dedicated to Asia’s diverse and vibrant flavors. Taste a variety of dishes, ranging from classic favorites to innovative creations, and sip on traditional sake, Japanese beers, and a selection of Asian-themed cocktails.

Collaborative Kitchen: Steel Hands Brewing & Los Chicanos

Thursday, April 25 | 6pm-8pm | Steel Shed at Steel Hands Brewing

An approachable multi-course dinner hosted at Steel Hands Brewing where Chef Nolan Cunningham will collaborate with Los Chicanos food truck. Expect beer-infused desserts, innovative bites and brews, including the crowd-pleasing Tangerine Sour Ale, and more.

High Noon Food Truck Rodeo

Friday, April 26 | 12pm-3pm | WECO

Jumpstart the weekend festivities with an early escape to the High Noon Food Truck Rodeo at WECO Bottle and Biergarten. Tickets include a selection of local brews and High Noon beverages as well as coveted entry into a special raffle. The prize? Two VIP tickets to Sunday’s Grand Tasting event. Food truck meals will be available for purchase. 

Mix, Mingle, & Glow Sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Friday, April 26 | 3pm-5:30pm | The Skinhouse

Unwind and become immersed in a world of beauty and bespoke cocktails. Skilled ‘Skintenders,’ guide guests through a dew-it-yourself mini facial and build a customized take-home beauty box. Tito’s Handmade Vodka bartenders will craft cocktails along with bites from Abundant Graze, green juices from Good Life Café, and hydrating fruit-infused Mom Water.

A Gourmet Soiree Sponsored by Sculpted by WH Aesthetics

Friday, April 26 | 7pm–10pm | The Gourmet Shop

The finest French experience awaits. Pairings of champagne with prepared oysters plus French delectables — in collaboration with Chef Frank Bradley of Hendrix. Cocktail attire is encouraged for this unforgettable soirée!

Petals & a Picnic

Saturday, April 27 | 11am-1pm | Hampton Preston Gardens

James Beard-nominated restaurants Spotted Salamander and Lula Drake present their acclaimed chefs — Jessica Shillato and the dynamic duo of Rachael Harrison and Ashley Bundrick — for a family-style picnic brunch nestled in the lush grounds of the historic Hampton Preston Mansion. Along with cocktails featuring The Botanist Gin, a curated selection of wines and bubbly, guests will create and take home a flower arrangement.

Bovinoche: Butcher & Bourbon

Saturday, April 27 | 6pm-9pm | City Roots

Ignite the senses at ‘Bovinoche: Butcher & Bourbon,’ a fiery and flavorful tasting experience led by Kristian Niemi (Bourbon, Black Rooster, The Dragon Room) and Wes Fulmer, along with a stellar lineup of chefs. Complementing the savory delights will be an assortment of cocktails courtesy of Heaven Hill Distillery and Luxco, each crafted to enhance the smoky and rich flavors of the food.

Grand Tasting

Sunday, April 28 | 1pm-4pm | Robert Mills Estate & Hampton Preston Mansion

The grand finale where hundreds of foodies will revel in the flavors of Columbia. Over 60 local restaurants, breweries, mixologists, and culinary artisans unite to offer a spread of creative and tasty samples that are a testament to all the Columbia region has to offer.

Same Festival, New Look: Refreshed Branding to Reflect Festival’s Growth

What once was a single-day tasting event has transformed into a five-day, food-filled fest that gains regional attention for Columbia’s culinary offerings. To align with its growth and new nonprofit status, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has unveiled a refreshed look. The updated brand was designed to reflect the authenticity of Columbia and the fun, hip and elevated vibe of its culinary scene.

The new evolution of the logo still incorporates white space to represent culinary sketches and has been updated to include a knife, spoon, and wine bottle. The knife is representative of the chefs and educational opportunities within the festival. The spoon represents the guests and their tastings; providing a superior guest experience is a priority for Columbia Food & Wine. The wine bottle represents the beverage talent and mixologists.

The diamond shape — reminiscent of a spotlight — speaks to the festival’s mission to highlight and support the culinary community. The festival is excited to expand its brand with hand-drawn, food-related illustrations and a vibrant color palette that compliments regional branding. Be on the lookout for new swag items, including the beloved wine lanyards, at this year’s festivities. More festival information can be found online at columbiafoodandwinefestival.com.

Connect with the Columbia Food & Wine Festival

Instagram: @ColumbiaFoodandWine

Facebook: Columbia Food and Wine Festival

Hashtags: #ColaFoodandWine #ColaFWF

Website: www.columbiafoodandwinefestival.com/

The PalmettoEye highlights the people, places, events, and culture of the Palmetto state through the lens of native South Carolinians. With curated news, editorials, videos, podcasts, and photo essays, we share a unique view of life and living in South Carolina. The PalmettoEye is also your place for discovering cultural and historic landmarks from around the state as well as events and attractions to watch out for and the latest in dining and shopping and other noteworthy attributes that make the Palmetto State one of the world’s most beautiful places with smiling faces.

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