Chow Chow Culinary Festival Asheville NC Image Courtesy of Explore Asheville

Chow Chow Culinary Festival in Asheville: Everything You Need to Know

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From September 12-15, the inaugural Chow Chow Culinary Festival will bring award-winning chefs from North Carolina and beyond to join the biggest and best of Asheville’s restaurant scene. Featured events include farm dinners, tours and brunches, chef demonstrations, tastings, and so much more. The event will mix amazing, diverse flavors with the community while raising awareness about food insecurity and waste. Festival participants can buy tickets to the event now and guess what, we’ll be there, too! That’s why we wanted to give you this preview of the exciting event and everything you need to know about it.

This article is part of our series on Asheville and was included in our guides covering September events and fall things to do in North Carolina. It was originally created on August 22, 2019.

Chow Chow Culinary Festival in Asheville, NC: Things to Know

Featured Image Credit: Tim Robison.

About Chow Chow

Chow Chow’s concept is to embody inclusivity, and not just for the Asheville community. Event admissions range from free to high-end, luxury experiences. Tickets are sold a la carte, making Chow Chow more accessible to the community. The event hopes to highlight all aspects of the culinary supply chain, including farmers, mixologists, chefs, brewers, bakers, artists, writers, and potters. Forage through the woods or wrap food in clay before baking it, that is what Chow Chow is about! By inviting nationally recognized chefs such as Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard along with multi-generational farmers and potters, the festival mixes Appalachia with the various ethnic backgrounds that have shaped Asheville and North Carolina into the melting pot we know today.

Ashley Christensen’s restaurants make a big dent in our guide to must-eat restaurants in Raleigh. We also visited Vivian Howard’s famed Chef & the Farmer in Kinston and shared our experience here!

Chow Chow and MANNA

The festival’s signature charity is MANNA FoodBank. Chow Chow is partnering with MANNA to raise awareness for their children’s backpack program. In Western North Carolina, one in four children are facing hunger and many of those affected rely on free school meals. However, they do not have enough to eat during the weekend. In order to combat this, MANNA packs nutrient-dense food for 5,000 children at 184 sites in Western North Carolina every week. It costs $3 to fill a backpack with enough food to feed a child for an entire weekend. Festival attendees are encouraged to donate along with their tickets or participate in the virtual food drive during the event. For more information about donations, check here.

The Sponsor: Kimpton Hotel Arras

Chow Chow is presented by the Kimpton Hotel Arras in Asheville. Its central downtown location in Pack Square mixes nicely with Kimpton’s reputation for boutique character and exceptional in-house restaurants. Hotel Arras is a historic conversion of the former BB&T Bank building, also Asheville’s tallest building. Now, the 128-room boutique hotel is an oasis in the center of the city while still capturing the “essence of the eclectic Asheville arts community.”

Things to Know Before Attending Chow Chow

  • Purchase tickets before you go as many of the events are already starting to sell out. You’ll receive an email confirmation that will serve as your ticket.
  • You must be 21 years old to attend the festival. While kids and pets are mini foodies, unfortunately, the festival is unable to safely accommodate them.
  • Pickle in the Park tickets will be sold separately. Your ticket is for a specific day and not for the entire weekend.
  • Make hotel reservations soon. Asheville’s hotels and other area accommodations are expected to fill up during the event. You can find places to stay in and around Asheville via TripAdvisor, Vrbo, and by directly booking with hotels throughout the city.
  • Information stations will be available in Pack Square Park.

Free Events

  • Food Truck Rodeo (September 13-15, 11:00 am-4:00 pm in Pack Square Park)
  • Makers Market Open (September 13-15, 12:00 pm-5:00 pm in Pack Square Park)

Ticketed Events

  • Pickled in the Park Grand Tasting
  • Demonstrations and Hands-On Classes (prices range)
  • Mountain Top Soiree: Opening Party Celebration
  • Foraging & Feast
  • Behind-the-Scenes Agriculture Tour at Biltmore Estate
  • Follow the Barrel at Antidote
  • Women on the Urban Trail
  • Fire It Up!
  • Plant All Mighty
  • LaZoom: A Moveable Feast
  • Brown in the South @ Chow Chow
  • Sips & Sun Salutations
  • Fairview Farm Trot
  • Appalachian Soul Food: A Celebration of The Block
  • Noble Direct: A Field-to-Fork Brunch
  • Cacao, Confections, and Cocktails
  • Clay Bake at East Fork
  • Chow Time Closing Party

For the full Chow Chow schedule, check here.

Looking forward to Chow Chow, too?

Chow Chow is perfect for anyone who loves culinary adventures, happens to be in Asheville or willing to travel there, or all of the above. The multi-day immersive experience brings makers together like a complex meal to invigorate your taste buds and spark your creativity. All this for a great cause makes this a must-visit event in one of our favorite spots in North Carolina’s mountains. Tickets for 2019 are on sale now and you can pick them up here!

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