Blog: Escapemaker.com's Local Food and Travel Expo
Normally events that are both free and fun in and around the City are few and far between. But then EscapeMaker.com comes along every year and scraps that whole misconception. The website’s now annual “Local Food and Travel Expo” returned on Saturday afternoon, for five full free hours to Brooklyn Borough Hall, bringing in thousands of guests hungry for both the free eats and to learn a little bit more about their surrounding area for weekend or week long getaways. And with vendor tables offering up a ton of literature, swag, and yes, food on which to nosh, the well attended afternoon event for once, focused on reasons to leave the city.
The “Local Food and Travel Expo” brought out everyone from singles to families with strollers during the especially warm weather afternoon. Brooklyn Borough Hall meanwhile was transformed into a trade show of sorts with the likes of Amtrak and Zipcar hosting stands near the newly opened Park Slope outpost of Dinosaur BBQ and Stinky Brooklyn, slicing up fresh hunks of cheese to the hungry public. Meanwhile Brooklyn Winery and Kelso of Brooklyn were on hand to pour out wine and beer samples, bringing a spice of local products to the table. But the day’s true focus was on checking out happenings and sites to see outside of our direct vicinity, which is what makes the “Local Food and Travel Expo” so enlightening year after year.
Now because the event is free and open to the public, the line that formed at the entry point to the Hall could be excessive at times. But again, the outstanding weather and the anticipation of what was to come more than made up for any frustrations experienced by the crowds that had gathered. Admittedly the lengthiest lines as would be expected was for the likes of Dinosaur’s outstanding “Memphis Style BBQ Pork” topped with a fresh pickle and a dollop of their tangy barbecue sauce. But there was much more for the crowd to take in otherwise.
From local representatives like the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Transit Museum to nearby food and adventures in Connecticut (Delamar Resort), Pennsylvania (Discover Lehigh Valley, Woodloch Resort), Vermont (Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont, Visit Vermont) and even New Jersey (Francesca’s Bakery), much of the driveable northeast was appropriately represented all afternoon long. Each table was manned by knowledgeable folks happy to answer any and all questions about their neck of the woods. But candidly, those that brought some food samples to hand out did seem to have the largest collection of attendees swarming their tables.
With fresh apples from the New York Apple Association, delicious cakes and pastry bites, and liquor filled cups, the 2013 “Local Food and Travel Expo” brought some together just a few of the more fantastic ideas for day trips, getaways, experiences, and places to imbibe and to eat all together in the same place. And with the GrowNYC market just outside the Hall’s doors, there was plenty to do in the area should the large crowd inside become too much for some. Perhaps the best part of the day though was experiencing the event alongside so many of our fellow New Yorkers, excited to head out to the completely free event, and getting something truly valuable from it- be it information or a direct deposit of local eats, right into their stomachs.
- Jane Van Arsdale