Each summer, the St. James Town community hosts the annual SJT festival that brings food, music and entertainment to the community’s growing and diverse population. SJT festival is an annual outdoor event featuring eclectic mix of diverse foods from all over the world. The festival goes all out when it comes to offering good quality cuisine.
Food vendors are encouraged to register each year on a first come, first serves basis for 10 available food stall spots. Both new and returning food vendors are welcome to apply
It took a month to review and decide on the final 10 vendors who were excited to showcase their culinary skills. An Orientation workshop was hosted to explain the event details and to make sure all the food vendors had their Food Handlers Certificates. This year our vendors served Indian, Pakistani, Jamaican, Chinese, and Middle Eastern dishes during the event. For the vendors, it was exciting to serve their diverse cuisines to the St. James Town community.
The feedback from the community was majority positive with many people enjoying the hot food preparation and fair prices for fresh food. Many in the community were eager to try new dishes and taste samples offered by some vendors. The food stalls were also well presented and attracted large groups from families to children who particularly enjoyed the desserts – the cake trifles and fruit pastries were a hit!
One challenge we encountered was that multiple food vendors were selling the same or similar dishes. This meant that these dishes were not in such high demand and resulted in some leftovers instead of selling out. Approximately 8/10 food vendors sold out. Another challenge was the location of the food stalls. There was often a large crowd around the food with some nearby smoking and drinking beers. This made some of the food vendors and the customers uncomfortable. We will strive to be more mindful of the food stall location in the future as the food is very popular.
Overall the residents and vendors were positive towards the food served and the festivalt in general. Many enjoyed the experience and felt inspired and have expressed their interest in joining us next year for our annual festival.