Foodaroo moves to historic Marble Works for a great third year

Before you freak out, repeat after me: change is good… change is good… change is good.
So what’s changing? Foodaroo is moving its festivities this year to the Marble Works. For the past two years, the event closed down Merchants Row for an evening of Vermont food, music, activities and fun. But the downtown construction this summer presented a number of challenges, so Lisa and Andy Mitchell (who put on the event with their company Middlebury UndergrounD, or MUD) decided to relocate.
But don’t worry, the Mitchells promise this year’s event on Sunday, June 25, 4-8 p.m., is going to be better than ever.
“Picture this,” said Andy. “We’re going to flank the parking lot in front of Flatbread with vendors, there will be a band playing on a mobile stage at one end and entertainment of other sorts at the other. People can picnic on the lawn overlooking the falls and those who want a quieter scene can dine in the courtyard on the other side of Flatbread. There will be activities for children and families there from 4-6 p.m.”
Sounds pretty good!
“From food trucks to brick-and-mortar operations, this event is dedicated to showcasing creative, farm fresh cuisine,” reads the event’s press release. Attendees taste their way through the festival while enjoying leading local bands, street performers, kids activities, a fortuneteller, fire circus and more.”
Foodaroo 2017 will feature all-time festival favorites, as well as newcomers from Addison County and the surrounding area. The line-up includes: American Flatbread, ArtsRiot, The Skinny Pancake, Cadja Madera, Fork in the Road, The Good Food Truck, Mary’s Restaurant, Thai @ Home, BTV Ethiopian, Luiza’s Homemade with Love, Vermont Soup Company, Green Mountain Mangalitsa, Broccoli Bar, Porky’s Backyard Barbecue & Smokehouse, White Buffalo Food Co., Aromatica, LuLu, The Doughnut Dude, Bridge School Cupcakery, Lulu Pouf, Juice Amour, Savoure Soda, Stone Leaf Teahouse, Apis Kombucha and more. Beer, wine, hard cider, summer cocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks will be offered for sale by American Flatbread.
“We’re lucky enough to have Flatbread stepping in to offer a full bar,” said Lisa. In past years, Town Hall Theater managed the alcoholic beverages.
Food this year will be sold for cash — no tickets required. So just bring some moolah and you’ll be ready to start tasting.
“It makes it much simpler and faster,” explained Lisa. “We’ve learned a lot over a few years… one of the biggest challenges is to have enough food, but not too much. Our goal is to make sure everyone is happy: vendors and guests. But I’d say this year we’re erring on the side of too much food.”
Noted. Come hungry, everyone.
While happily tasting the small plates from all the vendors, guests will enjoy music by the Grift (their only show in Middlebury this summer) and DoJo — ’80s music done bluegrass style. The musicians will play from a mobile stage that the Mitchells have been hard at work on this year. Aqua ViTea, Silver Maple Construction and Stonecutter Spirits have kicked in financial support, while in-kind donations have come from Jesse Gillette of Vermont Integrated Architecture, Sean Flynn of Silver Maple Construction and Clint Bierman from The Grift.
“We want to have a mobile place-making arsenal,” explained Andy. “We want a mobile stage, a food truck, and movable arts scene… so that we can host a pop-up event anywhere.”
“Plus then other community members can use it and have a low-cost option if they need a stage,” added Lisa.
Bierman, lead vocals and guitar from the Grift, not only helped with the mobile stage, he’s the musical director for Foodaroo this year. “We’re going to have two sets of music,” he said, “and it’s going to be awesome! We are very excited to play in Middlebury again. It’s been too long.”
On top of the musical talent, enjoy a performance by Wacky Chad, whose award-winning pogo stick skills, charming jokes and antics got him on America’s Got Talent (twice!), and earned him a performance at the Super Bowl. Then Vermont’s own Cirque de Fuego will electrify with fire and light. Find out what mysteries a tarot card reader (a.k.a. fortuneteller) will unveil during two free hours of short readings. For kids, Modern Times Theater will entertain with puppetry and music. SunCommon will set up their bounce house on the main lawn. Ollie’s Other Place and Let’s Grow Kids will offer interactive activities, and the Addison County Readers will help get kids hooked on books.
“It was an intentional choice to focus on street performers this year,” said Lisa. “Last year we focused on music and this is a different angle. We hope it will make the event even more family-friendly.”
Another new part of Foodaroo is the King Arthur Flour baking contest, which also takes place at 180 fairs and festivals nationwide. Bakers of all ages are invited to submit their very best sweet pie riffs on a classic. This year’s theme is “Vintage Pies with a Modern Twist.” Sign ups for pie entries are technically due today, Thursday, June 22, but no-one will be turned away if you show up on Sunday with a pie that follows the contest rules.
Baking contest judges are Anne Haynie Collins, Cornwall resident and author of Vintage Pies; Julia Clancy EatingWell test kitchen cook and Seven Days food writer; and Sarah Wood the owner and master baker at Otter Creek Bakery. The judges will be using taste, appearance/creativity and texture to judge the pies. Prizes will be given to the top three winners. Visit www.middunderground.org/kingarthur for more details about the contest rules, prizes and to enter.
If you’ve been wondering if you’ll get to try the pies, the answer is probably. But we have to wait until the judges have made their final selections.
“I’m looking for pies that use traditional ingredients that may be combined in a new way,” said Collins, a transplant from Dallas, Texas. “Like, for example, strawberry-jalepaneo pie — they’re two familiar ingredients combined in a different way.”
The only ingredient Collins refuses when judging a pie contest: Cool Whip.
“It’s kind of a joke, because the most modern recipe in ‘Vintage Pies’ is from the late 1800s — before processed foods,” she said. Ahem, before Cool Whip was a dollop a way from topping your pie. “But really if you look at the list of ingredients on the back, you won’t recognize anything… I’ll happily judge any pie with the Cool Whip exclusion.”
“A baking competition is something I’ve wanted to do for years,” added Lisa, who was a chef in her 20s and then worked at Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines before moving to Vermont with her husband and their two kids over a decade ago.
“We’re always trying to focus on new groups of the community,” said Andy. In fact it’s part of MUD’s mission as an official 501©(3) multidisciplinary arts and event production organization to “bring the diverse cross-sections of our community together around unique, shared experiences.”
That’s why it’s important to the Mitchells and MUD’s new 11-person advisory board to keep the event free and open to all. “We try to make things as accessible as possible,” said Lisa. “We want people to come and enjoy the party!”

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