New 'Femmestival' at Garver celebrates food, art and empowerment

THE CAP TIMES | View Article

A new culinary arts festival highlighting the work of women, femmes and non-binary entrepreneurs is coming to Madison’s east side. Femmestival, a midwinter celebration of food and art, is set to take over the main event space in the renovated Garver Feed Mill on Sunday, Feb. 23.

The event is a co-production of Garver Events and Madison’s Culinary Ladies Collective (CLC). Proceeds will benefit both CLC and Centro Hispano.

It plans to be family-friendly, affordable — food tickets will cost $5 each — and accessible for attendees and vendors alike. There will be no entrance fee and no vendor fee, thanks to sponsors like Madison Gas & Electric and Garver itself.

The name “Femmestival” started as an inside joke, but the goal is serious: to empower women, femmes and non-binary folks in the culinary industry, to carve out a space for their work and break down barriers to their success.

“People are feeling more empowered to be themselves, to carve out spaces for themselves,” said Francesca Hong, co-owner of Morris Ramen and a leader among the Culinary Ladies.

Hong wants the festival to be a jumping-off point for “someone who’s starting out or who is thinking of starting a food business but is nervous about how it will be received.

“They can do this one year and then down the road, maybe we see them pop up at a brick-and-mortar, or we see them doing their own online business,” she said.

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