Food and wine lovers flock to Five Points for annual festival (photo gallery)

Allen Wallace photos.

Saluda Ave. in Columbia’s Five Points neighborhood turned into a buffet worthy of a fairy tale Sunday, as 57 local restaurants and breweries invited everyone to put their service to the test.

The second annual Columbia Food and Wine Festival was the first to take place in Five Points, with the inaugural event moved to the Convention Center because of severe weather. While the indoor venue was a success, Sunday’s sunshine and warm temperatures offered a new experience.

“The event is made for the outdoors. People want to find an excuse to be outside and enjoy the great weather,” said Amy Beth Franks, one of the festival organizers. “It’s great to see so many people coming to Five Points during the day. Sundays aren’t always the busiest day, so we like to have any opportunity to welcome people to Five Points who may not be coming down here regularly.”

The people came, indeed, by the hundreds, exploring the neighborhood and sampling the many food and beer samples offered by the restaurants and breweries, as well as 70 different wines. The food and drinks ranged from the familiar to the exotic, and the format provided a perfect chance to try something new.

“It’s important that people support local business, hospitality and retail,” Franks said. “We want them to support local artisans and farmers and of course all of our restaurants. If this event gets somebody to try a restaurant they haven’t tried before, and they go back after the festival, then I consider that to be a success.”

The event also included demonstrations by local chefs and wine tastings curated by local experts. A specially equipped tent even offered air conditioning and comfortable chairs and sofas for those wanting to take a break from the sun.

Sunday was the climax of the festival, which opened with a collaborative dinner prepared by several local chefs and served up at Saluda’s in Five Points Friday night. It continued with several events on Saturday.

Information on future events in Five Points is available at fivepointscolumbia.com, and information on restaurants all over the Columbia area can be found at experiencecolumbiasc.com.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County

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