GastroFest Kid’s & Education Zone

On March 21st, in Hemming Park from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. GastroFest will have food from around the First Coast, expert speakers, chef demos and more! This food focused fest has a wide variety of activities, from homebrew and wine tastings to kid-friendly activities.

Jacksonville Beekeepers Association with GastroJax at the Cummer's 2014 EnviroFest
Jacksonville Beekeepers Association with GastroJax at the Cummer’s 2014 EnviroFest

Our GastroFest Kid’s & Education Zone during the festival will be in and around Visit Jacksonville on Laura Street from 11a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Inside Visit Jacksonville, we have bees under glass from the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association. A beekeeper will be there to answer questions and educate both kids and adults about the hard-working insects that not only produce honey, but also support agriculture and blooming flowers. Melrose Avenue Preschool will be providing some hands-on art fun with “food” art stations.

Outside, near Visit Jacksonville on Laura street we’ll have the Duval County Extension Office on-site, with materials to make radish necklaces, start seedlings in toilet paper rolls, and information on growing herbs and vegetables in North Florida.

Down to Earth Farm
Down to Earth Farm
Brian Lapinski from Down to Earth Farm will be giving a free talk on The Benefits of Supporting Local Agriculture at the MOCA Jacksonville theater at 4:30 p.m., but his family-run farm will also have a booth in the Kid’s & Education Zone! They’ll be selling local organic produce and vegetable transplants for you to take home.

River City Chicks
River City Chicks
Dig Local, Inc. & Beaches Local Food Network will be in the Kid’s & Education Zone to talk about their various programs, two farmers markets and three community gardens. They’ll also have info on eating locally and can answer questions about the benefits of a local and seasonal diet.

Kids will also get the chance to see the chickens from urban chicken farmers River City Chicks and adults can ask questions on how they too can raise chickens in their backyard.

Hemming Park's Life-Size Chess , photo by Surfdog Photography
Hemming Park’s Life-Size Chess , photo by Surfdog Photography

There will also be a giant chess and a oversized checkers set, as well as the Hemming Park’s highly interactive Imagination Playground, set up on Laura Street! 

Outside the Kid’s Zone, we recommend a showing of FREE shorts at the MOCA Jacksonville’s Theater. These shorts from TedED will please budding foodies and science-minded kids 8 and up. Showing is between 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. drop in as you like, shorts will be cycling throughout. Each short is from 4-5 minutes long. The short titles are: How Sugar Affects the Brain, Science of Spiciness, The Chemistry of Cookies and Why Don’t Oil & Water Mix.

About Teresa Spencer