Why go to just one food festival this weekend when you can go to two that are right next to each other? Newcomer Town Eats joins the veteran Eat Real festival in Jack London Square from Friday through Sunday. The festivals aren't connected, but they're both about great food and drinks, so if you're planning to hit up one, it might make sense to check out the other as well.
The Eat Real festival started as a way to celebrate the amazing food coming out of Oakland. Now, seven years later, it's part fair, part street-food festival, part block party, and totally focused on food and drinks that incorporate regionally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients. Plus, it's free to enter and everything costs less than $8 which makes the event incredibly popular. This year, the festival is expected to draw between 80,000 and 100,000 people though San Francisco Business Times reports that festival director Ally DeArman actually doesn't want it to get any bigger. "One year, about 120,000 people came, and the crowds and long lines actually hurt the vendors' profits," she explained.
There will be over 60 food vendors at Eat Real this year including Belcampo Meat Co., Chairman Truck, Mozzeria, Rice Paper Scissors, and Sweet Bar Bakery. There will also be wine and spirits available, as well as new cider saloon and almost 30 breweries, including Fort Point Beer and Magnolia Brewing. 100 percent of the proceeds go to Food Craft Institute.
Meanwhile, on the north end of the Square, the Town Eats festival, a celebration of local Oakland pride, will be throwing their first-ever event sponsored by Oaklandish, Lungomare, Drake’s Brewing and Hangar 1. Miles Perkins will kick off the festivities with a live jazz performance at 6 p.m. on Friday and there will be all day DJ sets on Saturday and Sunday.
Food wise, Saturday is all about the chefs from Lungomare, Chop Bar, alaMar, Haven and ChowHaus who will go head-to-head in a 5-Way Pig Roast-Off. Get a tasting portion for $4 or go big with a $20 all-you-can-eat plate. Sunday there will be $4 bites from Lucky Three Seven, Revival Bar+Kitchen, Blackwater Station and Abura-Ya Fried Chicken. And there will be $4 Hangar 1 and Drake's Brewing drink specials available all weekend. Proceeds from the festival benefit Planting Justice, a local non-profit food justice organization.