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Fredericksburg launching second restaurant week – This time, bring the kids.
Fredericksburg’s winter restaurant week promotion celebrated its fifth birthday this year by selling more than 5,000 meals–more than twice as many as the year before.
City tourism officials are hoping to build on that success and introduce downtown to a new segment of the dining-out market with a second restaurant promotion in the works for Aug. 6 – 14.
Called “The Family Table,” this event will be aimed at families with children–not necessarily the easiest diners to please unless you specialize in chicken fingers and pizza.
City Visitors Center Manager Julie Perry said a few downtown restaurants have been involved in planning from the start, and city officials hope to make a recruitment push next month. The event will be centered downtown, but will be open to restaurants throughout the city.
The promotion would be available as an “early bird” dinner special from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and during that time restaurants would offer special kids’ menus. Kids 11 and under would be able to “pay their age” for their meal, and parents would be able to take advantage of a “2 for $20″ entree special (No parents will be asked to divulge their age.).
The week would be kicked off with a kid-focused festival based around the Saturday farmers market in Hurkamp Park Aug. 6. The Cobblestone Children’s Museum is working on an interactive exhibit to teach kids about farming and the growing seasons, and the city is contracting with Veggyart, a Northern Virginia firm whose elaborate fruit and vegetable carvings have been featured on the Food Network, to do a carving in the park during the event.
The Aug. 6 festival could also include an event in Market Square aimed at teaching kids about historical markets and crafts like cheese-making, canning and preserving and possibly a nighttime event at the Riverfront Park that could include a food-focused movie screening. Perry said plans for these events will be firmed up over the next couple of months.
The point, she said, is to make sure families are aware of what city restaurants and the downtown farmers market have to offer them, and to provide an opportunity for them to try some new things with their kids at mealtime. Perry is hoping to get participating chefs and market vendors to create signature recipes for the week that could be printed on cards that families could collect at each restaurant, so that by the end of the week, they could have a whole batch of new kid-friendly recipes to start off the school year.
“We just wanted to tell them that families are welcome here and give these restaurants a chance to reach out to what might be a new market for them,” Perry said.
Look for more information on The Family Table in an upcoming edition of The Free Lance-Star.