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The second annual Berkeley International Food Festival showcases West Berkeley’s International Market District restaurants, specialty markets and unique shops, and will feature related cultural activities. Take a culinary trip to explore the aromas and tastes of worldwide cuisine without getting on an airplane or experiencing jet lag

Where: The area running several blocks in each direction from the intersection of University and San Pablo Avenues in Berkeley.

Festival Highlights:The Berkeley International Food Festival is a brightly defined promenade, fanning out from the intersection. Festival goers can visit eateries and food markets along the promenade for restaurant specials, cooking demonstrations, exotic food products and the utensils needed to prepare them, and the sampling of dozens of international foods. Staged entertainment, specialty food booths, community tables and amusements, such as henna painting, are featured.

Why: The Festival celebrates West Berkeley’s International Market District as a distinct gateway – an International Market District with a concentration of culinary traditions that is unique to Berkeley, a city known the world over for its culinary sensibilities. Seven city blocks host a unique concentration of more than two dozen ethnic grocery stores and restaurants – one of the densest, ethnically diverse concentrations anywhere in the region. The many excellent restaurants serve a wide variety of specialty cuisines from India, Spain, Pakistan, Thailand, Jamaica, Hawaii and Mexico. Arabic, Mediterranean, and South American foods area are also available. The markets in this district sell an extraordinary range of foods and spices representing South Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and many others.

Entertainment: The festival features ten entertainment spots with the main attraction being the Kitchen on Fire cooking stage, hosted by celebrity chef MikeC., from the prestigious north Berkeley cooking school called Kitchen on Fire. At the large, elevated cooking stage In the parking lot east of Everett & Jones, festival goers watch guest chefs, including Olivier Said, Soni Bhatia and Fredrico Felix, prepare dishes from around the world, and then sample them. In these cooking demonstrations, the chefs will use ingredients sold in the various specialty markets located in West Berkeley’s International Market District.

Freight & Salvage Coffee House – the Freight, as it is affectionately called by locals – hosts the first Berkeley International Folk Festival from 1:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (after the Food Festival closing) with no admission charge. This takes place on Addison Street east of San Pablo Avenue both in front of and inside the coffee house.

The Festival boasts ten activity areas with vendors and cultural presentations, such as the Mi Tierra Foods Kiosko (small plaza), on Addison Street west of San Pablo Avenue, decorated with colorful papel picado (paper cut outs) and featuring Latin American and Mexican food, crafts, music, dance and a tortilla-making demonstration. Enjoy belly dancing and cardamom ice cream at Karma Corner; capoeira, samba and martial arts demonstrations at Capoeira Arts Café and World Dance Center; food, crafts, massage and fortune telling at the Thai Village; and a luau with ukulele music and dancers at Templebar Grill and Tiki Lounge, co-presented by Kona beer.

At the YMCA on Tenth Street, children and parents can visit the Y’s play yard, where there will be art projects, games, and gardening projects. In addition, on 10th Street between University Avenue and Addison Street, artists from Fourth Street Studio will paint the Blick Community Mural Project. Attendees can view the mural-in-process. This area also features food, crafts, and booths. Enjoy music and cultural presentations.

Support and
Sponsors: The City of Berkeley and the West Berkeley Development Corporation (WBNDC) are working to strengthen the economic base of the culturally diverse mix of businesses located in the vicinity of University and San Pablo Avenues in West Berkeley. Additionally, there is support from the festival’s new philanthropic title sponsor, the West Berkeley Foundation, a community foundation established to help fund programs that serve West Berkeley’s most at-risk children, seniors and families. Additional sponsors include the East Bay Express, Comcast, India West, the Berkeley Daily Planet, KFRC Movin 99.7, Kitchen on Fire, Design Site, Anolon cookware, Bonjour creative cooking products, Urban Leaf foods, Blick Art Materials, Kona Longboard Brewery, Lotus Rice, Bombay Spice House, Reed’s Ginger Beer, University Avenue Association, Freight & Salvage Coffee House, Mi Tierra Foods, Karma, and Lanesplitter Pizza.

A Festival builds community pride and brings people together in shared enjoyment. It is also an effective way to introduce West Berkeley businesses to the entire Bay Area. Please join us.

Official Website: http://www.berkeleyinternationalfoodfestival.com

Added by raines on June 11, 2007