8 Sep 2011

Concessions for the Community

Author: Rachael Murphy | Filed under: Black Swamp Arts Festival

From festival classics, like corndogs and funnel cakes, to local specialties, like fried perch and Pisanello’s Pizza, everyone can find something to eat at the Black Swamp Arts Festival.

The festival has been running for 19 years as a non-profit, volunteer-run event that is highly anticipated by the Bowling Green community every year.

Amy Craft Ahrens, a local business owner and committee chair for concessions, has been organizing the concessions for the festival since 1998. She says that one-third of festival funding comes from donations, but the other two-thirds come from artist and concession vendor fees and beer sales respectively, meaning that her job is pretty important. All of the money earned goes straight back into the festival fund for the next year.

The festival offers a variety of foods, including Thai food, Cajun food, ribs, gyros, bratwursts, pizza, and other festival novelties. “We also try to make it a profitable venture for the food vendors by making sure no else duplicates their significant items,” says Ahrens. For instance, Elmo’s Concessions will be the only place serving the locally caught fried perch, Pisanello’s will be the only business serving pizza, and Cajun Cookin’ will be the only stand where you can get alligator, crawfish and jambalaya.

The food court is always behind Panera Bread, in front of the music stages. Festival goers stay after the artist booths are shut down for the live music, which goes until about midnight. Snack items, like kettlekorn and roasted nuts, can be found by the youth arts area.

The feeling of community that the festival brings out in Bowling Green seems to lend itself to the concessions as well. “They want to come back year after year,” says Ahrens. “We rarely have anyone fall out.”

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