(Last UPDATED 8/30/2023) Description and review of the annual Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Festival Street Fair. This free 2-day event features food, drink and music! NEW: See “UPDATES” below.
Description and review of the 6th Annual Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Festival. The festival is held annually in September on Capitol Mall.
See related blog post: Annual Events in Sacramento
The 2018 Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Festival was held September 28-29. This year the event added a Friday start from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., making it a two-day event for the first time. My plan, as in past years, was to spend part of the day at the Festival on Saturday. The Saturday event, with 145 vendors, ran from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It was a perfect day – in the high 70’s with a light breeze. As festival organizers encourage use of alternative means of transportation, I had seriously considered taking advantage of the offer from Sacramento Regional Transit (free rides on bus and light rail for event day participants). I went so far as to print out the free pass from the RT website before deciding to reserve a parking space. Parking at one of the nearby City parking garages was only $5 and provided me added flexibility. A free supervised bike valet is also available for those who choose to bike to the event.
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Busy Day in Downtown Sacramento
A lot was happening in Downtown Sacramento that Saturday. There were long lines of adults and children queued up at the Sacramento Convention Center for the 21st Annual Sacramento Reptile Show. One of these years I am going to have to check it out! I have noticed previously that it always seems to attract large crowds!
As often is the case, there was at least one – if not more – events taking place in Capitol Park. Two fire trucks with ladders extended had an American flag flying in the breeze between them over a park entrance on L Street. The event was the 16th Annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony. This year the ceremony honored 37 fallen firefighters.
Farm-to-Fork Festival Venue
After parking I made my way the short distance to Capitol Mall. My plan was to stroll down Capitol Mall from 8th to 3rd Streets and then to cross to the other side of the street on the way back. At 8th Street there was a checkpoint where backpacks and bags where checked before one entered. This end of the Festival hosted a kid’s zone which included a small Ferris wheel for children. Other attractions at the free family-friendly event included a petting zoo and a stretch in the median set up for corn hole. The corn hole appeared to be very popular with the kids.
Music, Food & Drink
Local food trucks and vendors of a variety of local foodstuffs were lined up on both sides of the street. Interspersed between were local wine producers and craft beer brewers – all of which appeared to be doing a brisk business. I passed a number of vendors offering free samples and from time to time I stopped and joined the queue, chatting with others in line as we waited our turn.
I paused several times on my journey between one end of the Festival to the other to listen to and watch the large stage demonstration presentations.
The music stage was set up on 3rd Street and I joined an appreciative group of music lovers to enjoy local artist Jessica Malone during her set.
Crossing the street and heading back towards the Capitol Building I stopped by a number of booths and displays, chatting from time to time with those manning the booths.
I also joined a line in front of the Golden 1 Credit Union Cardholder Lounge and enjoyed a free lunch! Entry required showing my Golden 1 credit card at the entrance. Once inside I helped myself to a croissant chicken sandwich, pasta salad, a cookie and a bottle of water.
After stopping at several other booths afterwards, I had finished the circuit and decided to call it a day. I had enjoyed several hours of people watching, free food samples, musical entertainment, and a free lunch in addition to collecting assorted “swag”. My swag included a large poster/map of Sacramento neighborhoods courtesy of Inside Sacramento Publications, a variety of sturdy reusable bags for grocery shopping, and a $5 coupon from Safeway.
All in all, it was a fun way to spend part of day!
Farm-to-Fork Festival Revisited
(9/29/2022) This year, for the first time, I attended the Farm-to-Fork Festival on Friday evening. A new event had been added to the Friday schedule, and as a result the free venue space was quite a bit smaller. The east end of Capitol Mall was blocked off to accommodate an associated $100 per ticket event.
The stage and musical performers were situated again on the west end of the venue. Lining the two sides of Capitol Mall were a large number of food trucks and varied vendors.
There was, as usual, great people watching. Additionally, this year there were more than the usual number of places to sit and enjoy a meal. Our group of three situated ourselves far enough from the stage to enjoy the music and still be able to comfortably converse while we enjoyed our freshly made pizza.
One disappointing note – the nearby Sacramento City parking garages on Friday were charging rates in the $20 to $25 range! On Saturday, the following day, the rate was back to what I have become accustomed to – a flat $5 for all day!
To Sum Up
To sum up, while glad I checked out the event on a Friday, in the future Saturday will be my first choice.
(8/30/2023) The 2023 Farm to Fork Festival free Street Fair will be held Friday, September 23 (4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) & Saturday, September 24, (11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
(September 2022) The 2022 Farm to Fork Festival will be held Friday, September 23 (4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) and Saturday, September 24 (11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.).
(8/12/2021) The 2021 Farm to Fork Street Festival will be held Friday, September 17 (4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) and Saturday, September 18 (11:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).
Note: All staff, vendors, and attendees will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of the event. All beverage ticket booths will be cashless this year – only credit cards will be accepted. Masks are recommended but not required per state guidelines.
(8/23/20) The 2020 Farm to Fork Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. Planning for the 2021 event is already underway!
(9/16/19) Broken link deleted.
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