A key component of the magic that is Indie Grits happens when its participants interact with one another. This has been true since that brilliant opening party this past Thursday night, where strangers filled the dance floor at 701, coming together to celebrate the beginning of what's been a most memorable opening weekend for the festival. Attending simply just doesn't cut it at Indie Grits. Participants can't help but befriend like-minded culturally conscious festival goers no matter what the occasion. They get involved. They experience. They participate.
A particularly effective participation-maker came last night, as folks reveled together in the vast variety of treats that were featured at the Indie Grits Slow Food event, held at the All Local Farmer's Market at 701. Chefs were on hand & more than willing to share their trade secrets about their featured dish. Set up at stations surrounding the perimeter of the space, participants tasted creations from Mr. Friendlys, 116, Terra, & so many other of Columbia's best restaurants that feature local and sustainable ingredients. The faces behind the food were engaged with participants in a way that was so demonstrative of the pride & passion they hold for their profession. I was particularly fond of Rosewood Market's always-tasty Shrimp Burger & 116's Chorizo and roasted Chick Pea salad.
Were the edible treats not enough to satisfy your appetite, Motor Supply Company featured a fantastic homemade Strawberry Ginger Soda that chef Tim Peters kindly gave second (and a somewhat shameful third, in my case) tasting of to thirsty attendees. Mixed with the featured Champagne being poured most liberally by the event's fantastic bar staff, it created a cocktail that served the diverse selection of entree tastes perfectly.
Tonight begins yet another round of edible entertainment with the start of the "Make" events. These events, run by Indie Grits Festival partners, aim at providing audiences with an interactive, hands-on culinary experience with two of the most talented chefs in the city. Tonight, Motor Supply Company Chef Tim Peters will engage his already sold out audience with a lesson on the fine art of Charcuterie. Participants will learn just how that unforgettably great Motor Supply Bacon comes to be by spicing and curing their own pound of Caw Caw Creek Pork Belly, which they'll take home as the ultimate Indie Grits souvenir.
On Tuesday, you can get a second dose of "Make" with Rosso Chef Kristian Niemi, who will be running a limited class titled "Off Menu," designed to increase his audience's grill skills by offering a lesson that culminates in a dinner including a steak, salad, and American Harvest Organic Spirit Cocktail. For more details, you can contact the fine folks at Rosso at 803-787-3949.
If cooking doesn't sound so appetizing, try a third Indie Grits "Make" event, which is the already established art educational experience, "Craft. Bar. Happy. Hour," offered by the Columbia Museum of Art. Their "Make" event happens this Tuesday, April 24th at 6 pm. Attendees will be creating Voodoo Dolls of their favorite celebrities. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here.
Whatever "Make" event you're fortunate enough to take part in this week, make it count. Get involved. Experience it. Participate.
It is, after all, the Indie Grits way.