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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!
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.
As you can see, Belgium is completely beer-centered
Bangers with Colcannon sounds rather delicious
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.
Crepes at the park will make a superb early-day snack
As the name would imply, the German Beer booth sells beer.
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.
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.
New Food & Wine advertisement under the main entry sign. Looks quite good.
The Welcome Center from the front.
Some fancy signage
And a bit more fancy signage. I really do love the branding for this event.
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.
It’s… pretty bad.
Note the grapevines under the breezeway
These cashier booths were sitting off to the left of the breezeway. Not exactly sure how they’re going to work out the line area for this 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.
It clashes horrendously with the rest of the event’s booths
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.
A nice overview of the booth
Overview from the opposite side
A look at the right side and door
You can tell a lot of work went into the smaller details on this building
It’s the little things that really make this booth so great
A look at the left half of the interior
And then, of course, the right half
More cash register booths like the ones that were sitting next to the Scotland booth
Except these were in a place where we could see the backs of them
This barrel was the base for the pole that’s holding this booth’s grapevines. I thought the detail was rather impressive
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.
The barrels embedded into the counter are a very nice touch.
The front side of a square noticeboard explaining the history of Crepes
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.
Pretty unique signage. I’m a fan.
Overview from the right
Overview from the left
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.
As you can see, the only evidence that anything is happening here is the tables
Not even any signage up yet
Here’s an interior shot of the left side of the building
And the right side. Sorry about the crappy pictures, they were taken through the glass.
I’d file this booth into the “bizarre” category. I don’t exactly dislike it, but I do find it rather odd.
Overview from the front
From the left side. I can’t be the only one who thinks those pumpkins look out of place…
And lastly, a close-up of the sign. Note that it’s made of apples.
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.
Entrance to Austria’s booth. Looks quite fancy if you ask me
Here you can see the cash register booths in use. I quite like the setup they have going
A shot of the inside
Some classy Food & Wine exclusive wine glasses
And lastly, Austria’s in-park menu
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.
Germany Food booth overview
A closer look at the hand
This sign bridges the two German booths. I figured I’d toss it in with the Food booth because it had less pictures
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.
A better look at the front
The booth’s cash registers. These pictures were taken about 30 minutes before it opened up so there’s no one at them in this picture
The booth’s in-park menu board
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.
A closer look at the signage and decorations above the booth
The booth’s registers
A closer look at the booth’s full menu
A nice little bit of signage under the overhang
Some fancy planters that they had sitting out in front of the booth. I imagine they’ll be move somewhere a bit more sensible soon
This is the Panna Cotta from the Italy booth. Only costs $2 and let me tell you, it’s well worth the price. Highly recommended.
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.
Overview of the booth
Closer look at the inside
The very classy mosaic-style sign on the right side of the booth