If you’re heading out to Circle D Ranch for a few days of music and food this weekend, you’d be well-advised to bring your own eating and drinking gear, or at least a toonie to “rent” a plate.
The three-day outing, now known as the Frog Food Festival – Served with Music, is being billed as a “zero-waste” event, and coordinator Lara-Rae Grant is determined to keep it that way.
“It will be the first actual event in the Yukon that has gone completely zero waste, so none of the vendors can hand out styrofoam cups, or plates, or cutlery of any sort to serve the foods on,” she says.
“There’s been some challenges, but we’re not letting them deter us from our vision of going zero waste. So we are going to go forward with it, and stick with it for the years to come, for sure.”
In its first three years, the festival was called the Frog Mountain Music Festival, but ran into “a bit of a kerfuffle” over the use of a nickname for the distinguishing landmark that overlooks Bill and Barbara Drury’s spread beside the Takhini River.
After a hiatus, Grant explains, the board decided to move forward this year with a new name and a new focus.
“As we kind of recapped, we just realized people here enjoy food and we really weren’t giving enough options at our festival,” she says.
“And we really wanted to bring the community of food together and show Yukoners how much is locally-sourced and locally available.”
Grant says the organizers have encouraged food vendors to use local produce, but couldn’t limit it.
However, the food for the Saturday and Sunday demonstrations by celebrity chefs Miche Genest (author of The Boreal Gourmet and The Boreal Feast) and Chris Irving is all being purchased from local farmers.
Irving, who will also do the cooking honours at Friday night’s wild boar roast, is expected to arrive from Thailand just in time to browse the Fireweed Community Market on Thursday. (See feature story in July 24 issue.)
“It’s really neat, because he’s kind of flying by the seat of his pants, grabbing different ingredients,” says Grant.
She became president of the festival’s board this year, after volunteering since the beginning.
“I really enjoyed the fact that it’s a family event. It’s so close to town, yet you’re able to camp and stay out all weekend, and you get a real festival feel. Great music. Good food.”
The musical fare will be provided by nine local bands that will “set the tone for a calm, relaxed day of events,” Grant says.
“It’s mostly acoustic until the late hours of the night, then we’re going to kick it up a notch and get the dance floor bouncing.”
Friday’s “hoedown” in conjunction with the boar roast will feature Second Cousins, while Saturday night’s band is Soul Migration.
“Scott Wilson has put together our music for this year,” she says. “He has a great taste for music, and he’s complemented the music to deal with the land and what we’re trying to do out there, which is really neat.
This year for the first time, activities for kids and adults will include the option of an hour-long tour down the Takhini River with Stand Up Paddle Yukon, at $20 for adults and $10 for kids aged eight and up.
The festival runs August 1-3, with musical festivities ending at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. A weekend pass is $60, but day passes are also available. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free.
Camping is also free, with space for both campers and tents. The Circle D Ranch is at km 1459.5 on the Alaska Highway.
For more festival information, go to www.frogfoodfestival.ca