The 33rd Annual Chester County Restaurant Festival took place on Sunday, September 16, 2012 from 12 pm to 5:30 pm. The festival stretched across several streets of downtown West Chester, including Gay Street, Matlack Street, Darlington Street, Market Street, and High Street.
More than fifty restaurants had booths at the festival, as well as over 100 arts and crafts and information booths. There were also three stages where live music was playing, and an outdoor seating area on Church St. Some restaurants had their booths set up in front of their actual locations. Restaurants in attendance included Timothy’s (located off Rt. 202 in the Parkway Shopping Center), Kildare’s Irish Pub, and the Pita Pit (both located on Gay Street).
Restaurants were competing to win the Town Dish Choice Awards. People at the festival could send a text message to vote for the best appetizer, best entrÃ©e, and best dessert. First place awards went to MÃ¡s Mexicali Cantina as well as Olive Branch.
There was the typical festival food available: funnel cake, pizza, kettle corn, and lemonade. People at the festival could also buy burgers, tacos, fresh smoothies, and more. Restaurants had some of the most popular items off their menu available at the festival.
There were also over 100 art and information booths at the festival. Banks, as well as other information booths, handed out freebies, like cups and pens.
One unique booth had a large TV screen. In another, an artist was spray-painting various works. Both booths attracted huge crowds.
The Chester County Culinary Challenge took place in front of the courthouse. Crowds of people watched as four chefs cooked an appetizer, entrÃ©e, and dessert, all with the hope of being declared the best chef in Chester County. The chefs were from different restaurants scattered around Chester County, including Amani’s in Downingtown, Majolica in Phoenixville, General Warren Inne in Malvern, and Twelves of West Grove.
By 5 p.m., the crowds had begun to die down, so booths began slashing their prices. Some went as far as putting an “everything half off” sign out.
“I think it was really interesting to see the mix of booths, both food and art. It was a great way to spend a Sunday,” Keila Zanella, a West Chester University freshman, said.
Theresa Kelly is a first-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.