Feast Portland Is Back: Bigger (And Better) Than Ever Before

Let the geeking out begin. It's almost time for Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland, an event that some are calling the country's "It" foodie event. Feast, in Portland, Oregon from Thursday, September 13 through Sunday, September 16, 2018 this year, is not only the Pacific Northwest's flagship food and drink festival, it's also becoming the country's most beloved culinary event, bringing food and drink fans up close and personal with their favorite chefs, winemakers, and brewers. Guests can expect a happy mix of the classic and the fresh with more than forty "wow" dining experiences.

For the first time this year, the 80s vs. 90s event will replace the Sandwich Invitational. The throwback "throwdown" will feature chefs battling it out to prove which decade reigns supreme. This year's Night Market, on Friday night, promises to be another showstopper with a Ring of Fire theme,  encompassing all things adventurous food and drink. Back again, of course, are the Grand Tastings, Smoked, and Brunch Village.

Feast is not just about food and food though. It's also about helping those in need. Since 2012, Feast has raised more than $372,000 to help end hunger in Oregon and across the country, collaborating with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. This year, Feast will also add a second, Oregon-based charitable partner – Urban Gleaners.  

In honor of this year's event, we bring you eight fun – and surprising! – facts about Feast Portland from co-founder Carrie Welch.

1. Feast was started in a coffee shop.

Duh, it's the Pacific Northwest. I met Mike Thelin through mutual friends and at our first coffee I asked him when the big food festival was. He said, "We need to talk." I'd just come off of working on the New York City Wine & Food Festival and South Beach, so it only seemed natural that Portland would have its own region-defining festival. Little did I know that question was about to lead me into a whole new career...

2. Feast's first brainstorm was in an Portland apartment with just a white board and red wine.

Mike, my wife Jannie and I plotted most of what you see today out that evening. Mike already had ideas for events like the Night Market and Grand Tasting, plus the sponsors and partners to get it going. He just needed two crazy former New Yorkers to jump off the cliff with him!

3. We launched our year one website while most of the team was simultaneously holding a launch party in NYC.

Mike, Festival Director Emily Crowley, and I were throwing a huge party in New York to announce Feast was coming, while Jannie was back in Portland scrambling to update the website with all of the edits, we were inundating her with via email. She has yet to let us live it down.

4. Our Festival Director was hired on a dance floor at another food event.

Emily Crowley and I met at Wild About Game, a fantastic food industry event put on by Nicky USA at Mt. Hood each year. We worked the event together, and then found our mutual love of karaoke at the after party. Somewhere in the early morning hours, I told her about this festival Mike Thelin and I were co-founding and maybe she wanted to produce the events and run the logistics. You know, just your normal dance floor conversation. Two weeks later, she accepted the job!

5. Our core Feast team is comprised of seven people – six women and one man – who work on the festival year round.

We have a passionate, diverse team who all LOVE food like it truly is their job (because it is!) and bring their unique perspective to every part of Feast. What sets us apart from other events is that there is someone behind the scenes on our team who has thought about every aspect of what you are experiencing. They make sure it's something they would want to experience themselves.

6. One year, a chef was inspired to get a grilled cheese tattoo.

Rumor has it that Michael Voltaggio was so taken with a late night, on-demand grilled cheese delivery we implemented that year with Tillamook, that he memorialized it on his body forever.

7. I gave birth to my and wife Jannie's son Taylor two weeks before the festival in year three.

I worked the festival and did press interviews while Jannie walked the baby around the perimeter of the events. No one under 21, not even the co-founder's baby! I do not recommend this.

8. Feast has raised almost $400,000 for hunger relief charities since its inception in 2012.

This year we're working with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, who advocates for programs like SNAP and school meal access, as well as Urban Gleaners, who collects fresh food before it goes to waste and gets it to the people who need it. We're proud to be a festival that supports these larger missions in our communities.

For more information and tickets, visit www.feastportland.com.