Food festival promotes local businesses

Attendees file into the TFP Food Fest held on Adams Street.
Photo Credit: Curtis Bataille

After suspending their signature events for over a year, The Fuzzy Pineapple hosted the TFP Food Festival Saturday in the shared lot between TFP and Center Point Church on South Adams Street.

The Fuzzy Pineapple, a Tallahassee-based Black woman-owned custom art, apparel and accessory company, reinvests proceeds from its sales into community events with the goal of empowering and educating small businesses. While TFP has hosted its flagship Arts & Crafts Festival for the past five years, this is the company’s first food festival.

“I’ve wanted to host a food festival for a couple of years now, but I just never had the space,” said Nefetari Dennard, founder of The Fuzzy Pineapple. “I put up a post on Facebook to gauge interest in a food festival, and the support was overwhelming.”

Support for the festival continued to be strong throughout the planning process, as more than 4000 guests RSVP’d online for the event between Facebook and Eventbrite.

More than 25 vendors were in attendance, including food trucks, baked goods booths, lemonade stands, jewelry vendors, and more. For many entrepreneurs, the festival offered a much-needed platform that has been sorely missed due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This is actually the first event or festival that I’ve ever done for my brand,” said Khalil Saadiq, founder of Plant Bass Foods, a vegan baking company offering vegan desserts, meal prep, cooking classes and more. “I chose this platform because I’ve had a great relationship with the organizer for years, and we’ve now built a working relationship as well.”

Saadiq was one of many vendors offering vegan or vegetarian foods at the festival, which was by design according to the event planners.

“A huge demographic for us is the vegan market,” Dennard said. “In fact, we intentionally put vegan food first on our flyer for that reason. Oftentimes at food festivals, things are centered around meat-focused dishes, so that alienates a large amount of people.”

With such a wide variety of food and drink options, there was no shortage of discoveries for guests to experience.

“The festival was an amazing opportunity to discover new things,” said Antonio Matthews, a recent graduate of FAMU’s School of Business & Industry. “I’ve never been to a festival like this in town before. It really opened my eyes to some of the small and growing businesses within the Tallahassee community, including some new personal favorites.”