GastroFest 2016 – Celebrating Local Food, March 19 in Hemming Park

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Mark your calendars for March 19, 2016, because GastroFest is back and better than ever! Taking place in Downtown Jacksonville at Hemming Park from 11am to 7pm, with GastroFest After Dark happening from 7-10:30pm on Laura St.  This year GastroFest will be a cash based festival – so please make sure to bring CASH! Each vendor is required to have sample sizes available for $1- $3 throughout the festival. We have encouraged Taste Vendors to have options for carnivores and vegans alike!

GastroFest 2016 Program

Click through the interactive GastroFest 2016 Program above for full map of vendors and events, complete with links and schedules.



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Schedule of Events

GastroJax brings you GastroFest 2016, an all-day celebration of the culinary world of Northeast Florida. Please see our Venue Schedule for all of the free educational events we have in Downtown buildings around the fest.


D’Land Music Stage

Hosted by Matt Pittman from Matt About Jax.

12 pm – Billy & Bella

Billy Daly & Bella Roux play folk, folk rock, indie folk, dream pop, alternative rock, neo-psychedelia, alt country, roots rock, and rockabilly. The duo combines Billy Daly’s guitar with the smoky vocals of singer Bella Roux with elevating vocal harmonies and a spare songwriting.

1:20 pm – Four Families

(Robin Rütenberg: vocals, guitar, mandolin, tambourine, Naarah Strokosch: cello, keys, Summer Wood: drums) Four Families is an orchestral indie folk group home-based in Jacksonville. Their music is inspired by themes of cultural tradition, social and historical observations, and human relationships. They released their first EP, Sea Legs, in January of 2012 as Robin Rütenberg & Friends and are currently recording their first full-length album.

2:50 – Caint Never Could

Dinah, Dayna, David, Tim and Lewis provide old timey Americana string band, a mix of originals and traditional folk songs with a southern swank.

4 pm – HomeBrew Winners

4:20 pm – Weekend Atlas

(Nick Garcia: guitar, Brennan Hinck: vocals/guitar, Carter Hess: trumpet, Mike Pruitt: keyboard, Jacob Casey: bass, John Stribling: drums) Weekend Atlas started as a collaboration between Nick Garcia and Brennan Hinck; sharing a love of folk and indie rock, the two began the process of songwriting. Along the way, there has been a revolving door of musicians. Weekend Atlas has developed a distinct sound all of their own.

5:45 pm – Kim Reteguiz & The Black Cat Bones

(Kim Reteguiz – Lead Singer, Eve Rojas – Backup Singer, Jared Bell – Electric Guitar, Bernard Johnson – Bass, Omar Torrez – Drums) Hybrid Blues – Defined as classic blues mixed up with a little funk, a little Latin and soul, all from the swamps of Florida. Based in Jacksonville, Fl Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones have performed in major festivals such as Sprining the Blues in Jacksonville Beach, , FL, Winestock in Altamonte Springs, FL and the Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah, GA and Tampa, FL and The House of Blues in Walt Disney World Orlando.



Various locations inside park, see event descriptions for exact location.

Taste of Ethiopia2 pm Taste of Ethiopia with Ibex Experience the Ethiopian Coffee Roasting Ceremony, with traditions from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. $20 for full coffee ceremony, traditional sorghum, and food samples. Dishes are vegetarian, made locally by Ibex Ethiopian Kitchen. On Laura Street across from MOCA. TICKETS on EVENTBRITE.COM $20

5:30 pm Charcuterie Pairing with Tapa That Taste and learn how to pair charcuterie! Pair four charcuterie, four cheeses and four wines, along with complimenting fruit, and bread. Food from Tapa That. Located inside of Tasting Tent to the left of the main stage. (Monroe Street Side.) TICKETS on EVENTBRITE.COM $20


The Chef's Canvas11 a.m.- 5 p.m. The Cummer Museum says The Chef’s Canvas was designed to “pair works of the Museum’s permanent collection with some of the best chefs, bartenders, and breweries in Northeast Florida.” They’ll be holding a cookbook signing in front of Chamblin’s Uptown during GastroFest. The Chef’s Canvas will feature about 70-80 recipes from local tops chefs including area restaurants and food trucks.

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Find Visit Jacksonville, between Monroe & Adams across from Chamblin’s Uptown on Laura Street (208 N Laura St, Jacksonville, FL 32202). The events at Visit Jacksonville are free or low cost, through the non-profit GastroJax. 

2 pm Florida Cracker Cooking & Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings While you might know this famous author from Florida-set novels and stories such as The Yearling, she also contributed to the rich history of Florida cuisine, namely Cracker cooking, in a recipe book titled  Cross Creek Cookery. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park‘s Ranger Carrie Todd explores her contribution in an intimate talk, open to the public. FREE.

3:15 pm Florida Cracker Cooking & Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings While you might know this famous author from Florida-set novels and stories such as The Yearling, she also contributed to the rich history of Florida cuisine, namely Cracker cooking, in a recipe book titled Cross Creek Cookery. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park‘s Ranger Carrie Todd explores her contribution in an intimate talk, open to the public. FREE.

4:15 pm The Mayhaw: Florida’s Fruit Scott Meyer of Congaree and Penn will speak about the history of the mayhaw tree, a native fruit-bearing tree, popular in jelly making, which grows wild here in Florida wetlands and can be cultivated. Congaree and Penn has started cultivating over 800 mayhaw seedlings, which they plan to use to flavor their hard apple cider. Congaree and Penn is known for their Jacksonville-grown rice, which you can find in GastroFest’s Hopcloth Marketplace. They also growmuscadine grapes, and will soon have enough to establish “you pick” days. FREE.

5 pm The Basics of Sourdough Bread Community Loaves once again contributes with a workshop on the secrets of sourdough bread-making. It was a standing-room only crowd last year! Head to Eventbrite to reserve your ticket (cost $10.70, plus eventbrite fees).




Find the Special Events Tent on the corner of Laura & Monroe across from Hemming Park.

11 am-noon Beer Tasting with Hyperion Brewing Come enjoy a free sample of beer from Hyperion Brewing! FREE

noon-1pm Beer Crafting Workshop Troy Orton, the brewer for up and coming local craft brewery Hyperion Brewing Company, will join with Beer:30 – San Marcoowner Kevin Burns to discuss their experiences with homebrewing and honing their skills, as well as Troy’s transition from homebrewer to professional brewer. This event will be held in the Special Events Tent on the corner of Monroe & Laura Street. FREE

3-4 pm Beer:30 Homebrew Competition Sponsored by Beer:30, with two locations, serving craft beer on tap & package beer to take home in San Marco and Riverside.  Local homebrewers will present their brews in the GastroFest 2016 Homebrew Competition. Judges from the local brewing community will determine the winner. The homebrews will be available for sampling during the event. No cost to attend or sample the brews. FREE

4:15-5:00 pm Making Mead The history, art and techniques of making mead at home by John Harris of Harris Meadery, Orange Park, FL. Last year they took home home the Gastrofest Judges Favorite at our Homebrew Competition with their Key Lime Mead. This year, they’re starting their own Meadery! FREE

5:30 pm Vegan Wine Tasting Sip and learn about some vegan wines; taste a little local vegan “charcuterie” from Fresh Jax at this ticketed event. Tickets are $20 plus eventbrite fees. Click here for more info. TICKETED.



11:30 am-6:30 pm Want to learn about cooking? Look into a chef’s mind on the Conscious Eats Demo stage, near the corner of Laura & Monroe in Hemming Park, where you will learn about everything from fermentation to the proper way to steam vegetables. Stop on by! You just might get a taste of what they have to offer!


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11 a.m- 5 p.m. We’ve got a special place for little foodies in the Kid’s Zone! Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "jax-kids-mural-festival" features interactive mural-making fun for kids old and young. Continue the art for younger kids at the Melrose Avenue Preschool booth, where little artists can use fruits and veggies to paint. Kids can create and explore with Hemming Park’s Imagination Playground.  MOSH will be helping kids explore the human body, eating choices and how to best take care of ourselves. Kids will get a chance to hear a heartbeat, learn about skeletal joins and play a matching game with organs and bones, and see samples of skin and fat tissues! MY Gym teaches kids that fitness is fun with an obstacle course. Duval County Extension Office gives away seedlings and offers kids the chance to make a radish necklaces. See live chickens with the River City Chicks and, weather permitting, a live hive from the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association.


The MOCA Jacksonville Theater, which is inside the MOCA through the main entrance can be found on Laura Street, next to the Main Library (333 N Laura St, Jacksonville, FL 32202). All of the talks at the MOCA are free, through the non-profit GastroJax.

11 am-noon Debunking VegetarianMyths Dr. Jon Repole will cut through the hype of fad dietary regimens and talk about the optimal diet for our health and environment. He will tackle controversial topics and oft-asked questions such as Where should we get our protein? Are dairy products healthy? Is the ancestral Paleolithic diet healthy? Dr. Repole, a practicing Functional Medicine Practitioner, will share insights on how to successfully integrate a whole foods, plant-based diet into your daily life. He  holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from NYCC as well as numerous degrees and certifications in functional medicine, holistic health, plant-based nutrition, and functional nutrition for prevention of chronic disease. Since 2001, Dr. Repole has been helping patients with a new paradigm of healthcare based on diet and lifestyle. FREE.

noon-1 pm Grow your Own! Tim Armstrong, owner of Eat Your Yard Jax, an edible-plant nursery, aquaculture facility and education center on the Westside of Jacksonville will explain the benefits of growing your own food right where you live and teach you how to do it successfully in Northeast Florida. He also teaches, as manager of Berry Good Farms, at the North Florida School of Special Education. He is a 2011 graduate of Will Allen’s commercial urban agriculture program, Growing Power. Afterward, you can sign up for his newsletter at, subscribe to his YouTube channel and like his Facebook page. FREE.

1-1:30 pm Eat Locally and Sustainably in Jacksonville Our very own local green living consultant shows us how to enjoy delicious, fresh food while shrinking our carbon (food) footprint. How do I find what I need? Isn’t it more expensive? Does what I eat really make that much difference?

4-5 pm The Farmers’ Market Panel Farmers’ Markets are not only a place to buy fresh produce and goods each week. They also provide a regional hub for small business development, food information, and community gathering. Learn what would happen to our local economy if every household in our region spent just $5 a week supporting local farms and artisans, and what questions you should be asking on your next visit to the market. Join Edible Northeast Florida as they host a panel exploring the role of Farmers’ Markets in our local food system. FREE.

6-7 pm Local Epic Indie Food I KNOW JAX hosts a short film featuring local food producers, followed by a lively Q & A. There are many artisan food businesses in the greater Jacksonville area producing unique products made on a small scale, and many even by hand. I KNOW JAX  focuses on the fun side of Jacksonville as an independent lifestyle show inspiring viewers to explore local food, craft beer, events, wine and much more. Every episode is also uploaded online at I KNOW JAX broadcasts twice every weekend on CW 17 Jacksonville, which has a broadcast reach of about 675,000 households. FREE.

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GastroFest After Dark

This year the GastroFest 2016 celebration will continue into the night until 10:30 p.m. with GastroFest After Dark! Come party with the best local breweries, Fusion Food Truck & Monroe’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q & Catering, live music by Gov Club and more on Laura St. in Downtown Jacksonville.


GastroFest is presented by GastroJax Inc., a non-profit organization created to foster and preserve local cuisine by educating the public about local food and beverage sources, local restaurants, and North Florida dishes.


One comment

  1. Is the music free?