Star Grazing: The Festival Foodie Edition

By Marcia Pilgeram
Reader Food Columnist

With food offerings as eclectic as the entertainment line-up, you’re going to find some great epicurean pleasures on Festival Street.

Not only is the food lineup impressive, so is the vetting that gets the “chosen few” one of the coveted vendor slots on Festival Street. Early in the spring, vendors must submit an eight-page application, and if selected, be prepared to pay a booth fee, attend mandatory vendor meeting, provide proof of insurance, receive health department training, purchase a food handler’s permit, adhere to a strict dress code and provide green, recycled paper products. Even with all these requirements, the Festival still receives twice as many applications as they have room to accommodate. To remedy this, and spread the love, the Festival rotates vendors amongst the mix of nonprofits and for-profits. If you don’t see your favorite vendor this year, chances are you’ll see them again next Festival. 

Coordinating Festival Street in no easy feat, but thanks to Co-chairs Gary Peitz of Dish and Dave Vermeer (who operates the North Idaho Fish n’ Chips booth), it’s a well-oiled machine. Besides looking after their own booths, these well-seasoned mentors, along with Carol Winget of the Festival, are always available to offer sound advice to new vendors and keep things humming on Festival Street.

Last year’s new kids on the (Festival) block, Wildwood Grilling, proved to be a great hit with the crowd, and this year, though they don’t have their own booth, they’ll make a one-night cameo appearance at Evans Brothers Coffee. They’ll be grilling cedar-planked peaches, served up with Wildwood Amaretto & Alder ice cream from Panhandle Cone and Coffee, and topped with fresh blueberries from Shingle Mill Blueberry Farm. Don’t forget, it’s a one night performance only (George Thorogood on Aug. 12) and remember that their proceeds will be generously donated to the Festival at Sandpoint.

I’m not sure where Jimmy Buffet found his famous cheeseburger in paradise, but I do know you’ll find a burger worth singing about at the Old Tin Can booth, expertly grilled by Savanah and crew, and loaded with local produce. Another Festival newbie, but a welcome addition to the ‘hood, is Sandpoint’s Curry in a Hurry. Pete Hicks will be heating up some nice spice and preparing several of the dishes we’ve come to love, including my favorite, coconut chicken curry.

Whether you’ve got a hankering for Bruno’s Country Ribs from Klondyke (pair ‘em up on Aug. 5 with Jake Owen and a Jim Beam special from Conlan’s bar) or prefer an organic vegetarian choice, lovingly prepared by our friend Laura at Jupiter Jane, you’re guaranteed to find a meal pleasing to your palate and your pocketbook.

I’ve been waiting for tonight’s performance, the return of my beloved Pink Martini. Festival bar manager Jenni Hewitt was quick to tell me that she’s providing a repeat performance, too — the return of the celebrated Pink Martini (the original signature drink of the Festival), in a light up glass. Besides martini’s, you can purchase wine by the bottle and champagne by the split. 

Jenni’s enthusiasm is contagious, and it’s easy to see how she draws such a great lineup of volunteers. And wherever you end up looking for a cool one, I can guarantee that Jenni and her bevy of happy helpers will be pleased to serve you. Try the Lakeside Lounge, or, to avoid multiple trips to Conlan’s Bar purchase a ”bucket of beer.” Five brews for $25, that’s a good deal.

Looking for a more sophisticated beer experience? Brewfest is Aug. 10, preceding The Head and the Heart and $10 will fetch you microbrew samples and a commemorative pilsner glass. Or, if wine is your pleasure, don’t forget “Taste of the Stars.” Gates open at 4:30 p.m., Aug.13, followed by the grand finale, “Nordic Nights.”

Speaking of libations, it seems Dyno and crew have thought of everything, including an anomaly in the concert world: Bring your own bottle. Heck, you can even bring your own picnic. Whether you choose to spread an elaborate spread on a blanket under the stars, stretch out in a lawn chair (bring yours or rent theirs), or try out the new grandstand, you’re going to have a good seat and a great time. If you’re thinking of a home-packed picnic, you might choose to bring one along for the Family Concert (Aug. 6) or the Charley Packard Memorial Concert (Aug. 9), as vendors will be limited on those two evenings.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the concert series, be thankful that Dyno Wahl and the Festival Board plan year around, providing us myriad choices to create our own Festival experience. Show your gratitude by purchasing Festival merchandise and supporting Festival Street vendors. And, besides the Lakeside Lounge, look for me at one (or all) of these booths:

Angels and Forrest Bird Charter School

Loaded Potatoes w/Butter, sour cream, chives, cheese, broccoli, bacon & chili

Arlo’s

Grilled Sausage & Peppers, Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich, Lasagna, Caesar Salad and Cannoli 

Babs Pizzeria

Pizza, Meat or Vegetarian Stromboli, Pretzels (salt, nacho cheese or sweet), Greek or Strawberry Walnut Salad

Eichardt’s Pub

Pulled Pork or Black Bean Tostada, Cocktail Shrimp, Chocolate dessert 

Dish at Dover Bay

Buffalo Meat Loaf and Planked Salmon

Edelwagen

Korean Pork Kimchee, Huckleberry BBQ Pulled Pork, Brats, Chicken Burger, Asian Chicken Salad, Meat & Cheese Platter

Jupiter Jane’s

Organic Kale Salad, Slaw, Black Bean Bowl, Steak Chicken or Fish Tacos  

Klondyke

Bruno Williams 

1/2 Rack Baby Back Smoked Ribs, 1/2 Chicken, Coleslaw

NI Fish n’ Chips

Fish, prawns, chicken & chips, corn dog & chips, garlic or blue cheese fries

Old Tin Can

Classic Cheeseburger, Quinoa Veggie Burger, Bacon Burger, with Woods beef & local produce

Sandpoint Curry in a Hurry

Indian Curry, Tikka Masala, Coconut Chicken Curry, Tikka Masala, Spinach and Potato curry, Saag Aloo and Dal 

Evans Brothers

Coffee

Panida Theater

Ice cream Sundaes

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