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Family Table returns this weekend

Kids will be welcome at Fredericksburg eateries next week.

If your excuse for not going out to eat in downtown Fredericksburg is that you can’t ever find a sitter, next week could be a good time to re-think that mindset.

Sixteen eateries in and around downtown will roll out the red carpet for families with kids in the early evening dining hours for the city’s second Family Table festival and restaurant week, aimed at promoting some of downtown’s independent eateries and other food resources to a group whose dinner-table chatter is much more likely to involve the latest offerings from Nick Jr. than the latest doings in Congress.

The promotion starts Saturday and lasts through Aug. 12. Participating restaurants will feature special kids’ meals nightly from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and a ‘two for twenty’ adult menu where diners can select two courses for only $20.

Special offerings for the week include red-eye pork barbecue sliders at Capital Ale House, farmer’s market pasta primavera at Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen and “fork and knife breakfast burger” at Foode.

But the week isn’t only about eating out.

The restaurant promotion kicks off Saturday with an expanded farmers market at Hurkamp Park, at William and Prince Edward Streets in downtown Fredericksburg.

It was for this festival last year that the city first agreed to experiment with closing the block of Prince Edward Street that lines Hurkamp to allow for a roomier shopping experience.

That led to this year’s popular First Saturday expanded markets, where the street closes and new and different vendors come to market.

The expanded market will include activities for kids inside Hurkamp Park.

The Explore It! Children’s Museum will bring its “Farm to Table” exhibit. This includes a small garden, a miniature grocery store, a little restaurant, tractor and other fun items aimed at teaching children about the journey food takes before it hits their plates.

The Kenmore Inn will perform a kid-focused cooking demonstration, and will offer samples to taste.

There will be a moon-bounce, a hydration station with water and watermelon, and Fredericksburg Parent magazine, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center and Fredericksburg Academy will be on-hand with other activities.

A kids’ activity station will include coloring activities that emphasize the “Farm to Table” theme. From 1 to 2 p.m., the Maranatha Alpaca Farm is scheduled to be on-hand, and Abner Butterfield ice cream will be for sale.

Just like last year, nationally known food artist James Parker of Veggyart will demonstrate his skills in the park.

And as an addition this year, the giant letters spelling LOVE–a traveling art display put on by the Virginia Tourism Corporation–will be in Hurkamp on Saturday.

The park festivities, which are free to the public, run 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and the farmers market, which will feature an expanded vendor lineup, runs 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is a full list of restaurants participating in the Family Table restaurant week. Click here for a list of menus and specials.

  • 909 Saloon
  • The Bavarian Chef
  • Bistro Bethem
  • Capital Ale House
  • Eileen’s Bakery & Café
  • Foode
  • The Gazebo at Fredericksburg Square
  • Happy Clam
  • Home Team Grill
  • J. Brian’s Tap Room
  • Jake and Mike’s
  • Kenmore Inn
  • The Otter House
  • Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen
  • Ristorante Renato
  • The Sunken Well Tavern