How to Navigate a Food Festival with Two Kids (and other lessons I learned at the Boston Local Food Festival)

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Earlier this month I decided to check out the first annual Boston Local Food Festival - an outdoor food event featuring local food sourced in New England. I was excited to check out this FREE, zero-waste event. Over a 100 vendors and exhibitors were participating. Perfect weather was sure to draw huge crowds. And it promised fun for the whole family with family-oriented activities just on the doorsteps of the Boston's Children's museum. Except I had to do this by myself with a five and two-year old. Gulp!

I took the boys to the museum first to get their 'ya-yas' out early with the hopes that they would cooperate as we navigated the festival. We left the Children's Museum around 11:30am and the food festival was already pretty crowded. But I was determined to scope out as much as possible and chow down on some good food. Here's what actually happened:
 
We checked out the Save the Harbor Save the Bay table so that my oldest could get up close and personal with a live lobster.

Lesson 1: look for (live) animals to entertain the kids

We *slowly* weaved through the throngs of people only to find long lines to almost all the vendors.

Lesson 2: If you are bringing a stroller, make sure it's a small one

We also won a prize at the bean bag toss courtesy of Cabot's, sampled fresh organic milk from Organic Valley, snagged peanut butter and craisin wraps from Maria and Ricardo's Tortilla Factory, and jammed to some Bluegrass.

Lesson 3: fun music always helps set the mood

The highlight of the festival for me was The Grilled Cheese Truck.

Lesson 4: Go for vendors with short lines
I reluctantly shared the melted cheddar (Vermont Butter & Cheese Co.) on Iggy's bread (with and without apple-smoked bacon and tomato) with the boys.

Lesson 5: Set a good example and share with the kids

The highlight of the festival for my oldest was the bus from Enterprise Farm.

Lesson 6: Interactive exhibits are great for the whole family

The bus project is an innovative way to bring fresh produce to people who need it the most without all the red tape of traditional distribution methods.

We left the festival around 1pm - just when the crowds were thickening even more. And I thought maneuvering a small stroller and kindergartner was bad earlier! Even though I wasn't able to check out even half the vendors at the festival, sample some of the tasty treats from Sportello, Taza chocolates, M&M Ribs (just a few restaurants I was dying to try), or take more pictures (you try taking a picture with one hand on the stroller and one eye on a 5-year old), I was glad I went. I think next time I might consider leaving the kids at home.

Getting ready for another event at the Children's Museum: Good-For-You-Pizza-Party hosted by Rustic Crust. Stay tuned for my post on this event!

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