Getting into the Festival Spirit
This final section of the exhibit represents the most energetic newcomer to the American Jewish culinary experience.
All of these events are hosted by Jewish organizations in towns across America, often sponsored by local and community organizations, and in the case of Hardlox, the City of Asheville (North Carolina) itself. These events seek to strengthen Jewish community by showcasing the kosher innovations (i.e. bbq, chili) and/or Jewish culinary history (i.e. deli, bagels, lox). In addition to the regional Jewish community which tends to flock to these events, some draw thousands from the community, making them true food festivals.
Similar to charity cookbooks, these events bring together a community around food whose utlimate goal is cultural diffusion and fundraising. With some festivals welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each year, these venues can become valuable philanthropic events, bringing in needed funds for a community while also sharing their good will (read: food) to their supporters.
Noshing Around the Nation
The Dallas Chili Cook-off has been a community fixture for over 20 years, often featuring the mayor as one of the judges—and who better to judge barbecue than the mayor of one of America's biggest barbecue towns?
Some of these events are very new. The International Kosher Food Festival (St. Louis, MO) and Hardlox are only two years old, as is Ahavath's Beth Israel's Deli Days festival (Boise, Idaho). Congregations and communities are constantly adding to America's exciting Jewish food festival scene. For more information on food festivals across America, here is a list that was distributed during the exhibit. Also, all of these items (a small representation of the JBLCA's collecton) were used as souvenirs and advertisements during and for these festivals.
About the Exhibit