Arts Alive on the River Festival

By Candace Nelson - 8:00 AM

Arts Alive on the River Festival was last weekend, and I went with a couple friends to check it out. They had everything from live shows to jewelry vendors to wineries and - of course - food. I purchased a small "tweezer" from Allegheny Treenware, which I plan to use as chopsticks. And of course I got some food.

I didn't buy a glass because I didn't really have the time, but the wineries were:

Lots of other great vendors were there - especially the local food places: Zul's Lemonade, 123 Pleasant Street (I didn't even know they did food - I need to stop there whenever they're cooking again), Chico's Fat Burritos, Richwood Grill, Yellow Submarine Sandwich Corp., and Jersey's Subs.

I got a lemonade from Zul's, a lemonade truck. I got a strawberry-flavored one. It was sticky sweet in the hot sun and huge. Yum!

I looked around at all the vendors - I actually need to review Chico's and Jersey's, but my first thought was to try the Yellow Submarine Sandwich because 1) it was in a bus and 2) the other places I can get year-round. However, looking at their menu was like looking in my refrigerator - just bunches of sandwiches alternating meats and toppings. Nothing too exciting here. Lunch meat, cheese, bread, check.

So I looked around. Richwood Grill looked to have some awesome stuff, but I had just been there. 123 also looked like they had a cool burger, and I'm not sure when I'll get to eat there because I don't believe they serve food all the time. But, they only had one or two items. Jersey's just had their cheesesteak, which I'll get at some point. But Chico's had the most expansive menu. I need to review them, as well. But their menu was amazing - things like chips and guacamole or queso, of course. But also things like their quesadilla - sweet/spicy marinated roast pork, jack cheese, green onions, served with guac and sour cream. Deep fried Mexican Mac & Cheese with smokey chipotle tomato sauce. It took some willpower to ignore that one. And their fish tacos - panko encrusted tilapia, baja slaw, jalapeno creme fraiche. The last one sold me. It was so tasty, too. Yes, the fish was like deep fried, and the slaw lacked some depth, but the combo of the crispy panko breading and the creme fraiche was great. It was tiny, and I was still starving. I should've gotten more than one. If this is any indication of what their restaurant is like, I can't wait to review it.

For dessert, we headed over to  Chocolate Occasions, based out of Virginia, to get our sweet fix. They had lots of little packaged up chocolates. But the chocolate-covered pretzel was first on my list. For only $1, I grabbed it up. It melted almost instantaneously, but I shoved it in my mouth and enjoyed the Belgian chocolately delight. Not too bad.

As you can see from the photos, lots of hippie types here. But it was awesome to see the local culture showcased. I loved seeing the local artisans, performers and all the vendors. It was fun. I wish we had events like that more often. I spent less than $20 overall, and I even had some left over. I call that a success.

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