From my vantage point at the information booth at First Street and Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix, I could see that the Saturday, April 13, debut of Feast on the Street — combining community dining, food trucks, a beer garden, a “community salad toss,” gardening displays, live entertainment and kids activities — was an inspired idea. Hats off to the organizers — the Roosevelt Row coalition, the ASU Art Museum and Desert Initiative, among others. I asked the volunteer coordinator for a crowd count at the end of the evening and she estimated it was 5,000 to 8,000, at least twice what was expected. Folks that I chatted with almost all said that they were having a great time.
So, my question to artists Matthew Moore and Clare Patey, whose vision put Feast on the Street into motion as an Arizona-style re-creation of Feast on the Bridge in London: Is it coming back next year? Here’s why it should, in my humble opinion:
1. Volunteers get classy T-shirts and a free meal at Chipotle. Thank you!
2. The half-mile-long community table running down First Street looked lovely with the floral centerpieces and white tablecloths (washable, reusable!).
3. The event was bike-friendly, dog-friendly and stroller-friendly.
4. It’s enjoyably subversive to disrupt downtown Phoenix traffic — and when there’s a Diamondbacks home game, to boot!
5. It’s educational, with many vendors and presenters quite passionate about their work in community-supported agriculture, sustainability and micro-gardening.
6. Food trucks, galore — they must have numbered 20. Many ran out of food with the unexpectedly large crowds, but that’s a good thing, right?
7. The traveling bluegrass band and other strolling entertainers.
8. Random and fun conversations with strangers that can arise at a community table, or waiting in line at a food truck.
9. A beer garden, which was the place to be after the sun went down.
10. The adorable zombies roaming (and shuffling) down First Street, steering folks toward trash and recycling bins and reminding us of the joys of decomposing.
11. The casual, friendly and down-to-earth vibe. Many folks wandered into the feast not knowing what it was and stayed around for the party.
12. Its excellent demonstration of downtown Phoenix’s growing attractiveness as a hip place to be.
13. The idea of capturing on video the fully seated community table by using a traveling boom truck that traveled south to north. A virtual piece of performance art, when you think about it, starring the good people of Phoenix. Hopefully, the video will be available on the FeastOnTheStreet.org
Did you attend? Comments are welcome.