As I’m sure you all know, the first ever Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food & Wine Festival starts this Friday. Regardless of its quickly approaching debut, I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who would love one last construction update before it starts. This is that update. Enjoy![hr]
New Food & Wine Festival Announcements
Since we first covered the Food & Wine Festival back in this post, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has actually expanded it quite a bit. Multiple new booths have been added, a few exclusive upcharge experiences have been announced, and the park has provided new details about the various shows and demonstrations that will be found around the park this year.
Oddly enough, back when the Food & Wine website first went live, it was missing menus for the Belgium and Ireland booths. Along with the latest website update, the park has finally provided these menus. You can check them out below or, if you’d like more information, on Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s official site here.
In addition to announcing new menus for both Belgium and Ireland, the park has also introduced two new booths: The Crêpes and Coffee booth and the German Beer booth. Menus for both can be found on the park’s official Food & Wine site but they’ve also been included below for your convenience.
Food & Wine Shows & Demonstrations
The park has published details about their three show products for the 2013 Food & Wine Festival. First off we have Grape Smashers which will be performed in Il Teatro di San Marco. From what I understand the show will include a guest participation section that will allow guests to get up on stage and smash their own grapes into grape juice. It sounds like it will be a very, uh, unique experience. Sharing San Marco’s stage with Grape Smashers is the park’s second Food & Wine show product: “Cooking Live!” From what I can gather, Cooking Live! basically consists of cooking demonstration hosted by chef Virginia Willis- a fairly well-known celebrity chef. Lets hope the show itself is a little more interesting than its name. Lastly, the park has set up booths in Killarney, Aquitaine, and San Marco where guests can watch a long list of popular “food artists” decorate and prepare various dishes and desserts in what the park is calling “The Art of Food”.
Overall it sounds like a very interesting lineup of things the park has never really tried before. It’ll be very interesting to see how they pull everything off.
Food & Wine Festival Tours & Exclusive Experiences
Busch Gardens has also announced the various tours and upcharges that will be available for Food & Wine 2013. First up we have the 3 hour long Food & Wine VIP tour which includes a guided tour around the park’s various booths, some information about the food being offered, and 6 food items and 3 drinks of your choosing for the rather hefty price of $100. When compared to the park’s other tour opportunities, I must say that the Food & Wine VIP tour looks shockingly overpriced. It doesn’t look like a bad tour, but in my honest opinion there’s much better ways to spend $100 at the park.
Secondly, as alluded to during the presentations given on pass member preview a few months back, the park is offering an exclusive Rhine River Cruise experience as well. They’re calling it Wine on the Rhine and for the rather modest price of $16 you’ll get a 30 minute Rhine River Cruise ride, a glass of wine, and a few small snacks to accompany it. Best of all, you’ll be accompanied by an on-boat string quartet. Overall, it sounds like a pretty superb price for something you could really only do at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Lastly the park is debuting The Chef’s Guests, a cooking workshop in Castle O’Sullivan hosted by Virginia Willis, the same chef who will be hosting “Cooking Live!” in Il Teatro di San Marco.[hr]
Food & Wine Festival Construction & Soft-Openings
I was at the park on Monday and was rather shocked by the amount of work that had been done in preparation for the Food & Wine Festival. To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting anything all that impressive out of the event- at least not from a decorations and theming standpoint. I must say, everything has come together quite nicely. Anyway, enjoy the pictures!
Not much action here yet but it should be an interesting stop on Friday.
It’s probably a good thing that we get what many are calling the ugliest booth at the event out of the way first. Scotland’s booth is, at best, questionable and at worst, downright ugly. While many people on the ParkFans Forum have pointed out the visual similarities between Scotland’s Food & Wine booth and a Tiki bar, it turns out that there’s actually a bit of reasoning behind the booths theming. As Skyrider pointed out in our Food & Wine forum thread, the booth is meant to look like a chicken coop which fits nicely with the inclusion of the Scottish Egg on the booth’s menu. With that said, visually, it’s still a fairly underwhelming booth.
Here’s another horrendously mediocre booth. The only thing that has changed to make it the Ireland Food & Wine booth is that they’ve hung potatoes from the roof. I certainly hope this isn’t the finished product.
Finally, we get to a respectable looking booth. The way they’ve combined the existing snack stand and the new booth turned out rather fantastic. I’m impressed.
Crêpes & Coffee
Speaking of fantastic looking booths, the Crêpes & Coffee booth may be my favorite booth at the event. It blends into the new Aquitaine so brilliantly yet still makes itself known quite nicely.
Like Ireland’s booth, I’m hoping there’s still a lot more work to be done on Belgium’s booth because as of right now, it’s looking pretty plain. With that said, that is a fancy sign though.
As of Monday there was very little evidence that any work had actually taken place at the site of the France Food & Wine booth. From what I understand the booth will actually be occupying the inside of the building formally known as Bistro 205.
I’d file this booth into the “bizarre” category. I don’t exactly dislike it, but I do find it rather odd.
Austria was one of the booths that ended up having a soft-opening while I was at the park on Monday. Everything seemed to run smoothly but I will say this: It didn’t seem to be drawing many people in. Though the park was fairly crowded, Austria’s booth was anything but.
The German Food booth is the first of the two booths in Oktoberfest. I love the booth itself but I’m not really feeling the giant hand.
Like Austria’s booth, the German Beer booth had a soft-opening on Memorial day as well. Like the German Food booth, I’m not completely sold on the hand sticking out of the roof but I actually even have a bigger gripe than that with this booth: The beer steins. They feel treacherously overwhelming. I would have much prefered that they simply stick with the style they used on the German Food booth.
From what I understand this booth has been opened nearly continuously since it was completed about a week ago. Italy’s booth is also the only booth I actually tried anything at on Monday and let me tell you, it was absolutely amazing. As for booth design, I’m not a huge fan of the signage, but overall they did a good job- especially considering what was here previously.
This booth has sure come a long way since we first saw it a few weeks ago! It’s a pretty bold booth but I like how it turned out. Those sun-like decorations made out of cooking utensils are particularly impressive.
I like the detail that has gone into this booth but I will say this: Greece’s booth is extremely flashy. It’s not located next to anything else so it doesn’t overpower anything in particularly, but it really does stand out. Overall, I’m not entirely sure what I think about it, but I definitely appreciate the extensive work that clearly went into it.