River and Sky draws people from Sudbury and beyond with its music, but someone’s got to keep the festival fed, and a variety of vendors collect along the river banks to get the job done. Festival goers can choose to bring their own food, but few resist the lure of the snack shack.
It’s worth perusing the menus to get a taste of what’s on offer.
The first stop you’ll find is at the Bigfoot Cafe, where you’ll find Nish Tacos, a pile of toppings on Anishnaabe fry bread. They typically serve powwows during summer months, but make an exception for River and Sky. The diners have to choose between the famous tacos, pulled pork, quesadillas and roast beef wraps.
Under the same roof is the Snack Shack, run by Chris McTaggert, a local caterer and chef at the Speakeasy. On the menu are his signature chorizo burgers with a healthy dose of aioli, portabello burgers for vegans and vegetarians, grilled vegetables and halloumi for the health-conscious diner, and grilled cheeses that range from plain (the Dirty Gerty has processed cheese on white bread) to weird (the Fickle Pickle has pickles and fried pepperoni).
In a little trailer down the way there’s Melissa Wyness and her North Star Travelling Cafe. Based out of North Bay, Wyness works the local farmer’s market, and brings local, foraged food onto her menu. Both of the main options involve a fried, handmade tortilla, one savoury option with scrambled tofu and one sweet with coconut and granola. Homemade popsicles are a welcome choice on Saturday as the day heats up.
Eat Local Sudbury has had a presence at the festival for several years, and this year brought a hearty selection of breakfast and snack options. They also have a barbeque menu featuring local meat and their famous carrot dog (you’ll have to try it to believe how good it is).
The cobb pizza ovens are off during the day but fire up in the evening to serve an array of thin crust, charcoal tinted pies with toppings from pulled porketta to the more typical pepperoni and cheese. The ovens were built in the weeks before the festival by volunteers, and they prove one of the most popular choices.
To finish off the selection, North Bay’s Yo To Go sits around a corner from the rest, offering an array of frozen yoghurt and ice cream. Fruity yogurt flavours are complimented but some less healthy, but tempting ice cream flavours like birthday cake and cappuccino.
There’s a bounty of options, and healthy appetite for the largely local offerings this year. No one can say they went hungry at River and Sky 2016.