Nutrition students introduce Feastival to Boone

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Apr. 24, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 28, 2013
Nutrition students introduce Feastival to Boone

To encourage nutrition and a healthier lifestyle, four Appalachian State University students are tackling obesity head on with the inaugural “Feastival.”

The celebration of slow food runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Horn in the West in Boone.

Feastival promotes the healthy aspects of the community. According to a news release, the event is geared toward anyone who wants to have fun and learn about nutrition and activity facts and resources.

Brittany Sleeper, a participant in the project, said the event was planned entirely by nutrition students.

“Feastival is an opportunity for us to share all of the information that we have learned from our degree with others around the community,” Sleeper said. “We are excited to share our passion for health with others.”

Organizer Claire Bilbao, a senior nutrition major, said the event began as a personal goal of hers that soon morphed into a group project.

“This wouldn’t be possible without their (the group’s) help,” Bilbao said. “I started it on my own, but I had to do nutrition integration in my class, so I decided to do it for a project.”

Bilbao said her inspiration for the event came from world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver, who organizes the “Big Feastival” in England that features rock star musical and chef performers.

“It just kind of started to create an event centered (on) wellness, and I was really inspired by Oliver, so I decided to have a Feastival in Boone,” Bilbao said.

To begin the planning for the event, Bilbao said the students invited local business, clubs and other health geared organizations. Altogether, 30 booths have been secured for Saturday’s healthy bash.
Among the attendees are two healthy food trucks, including Feastie Boys, and Earth Fare and Stick Boy Bread Company will also be on hand to distribute samples.

“We will also have nutritional education booths,” Bilbao said. “One of the booths shows the sugar amounts in different soft drinks. We have a smart start with breakfast booth and another on eating healthy on a budget.”

As with any lofty aspiration or event planning, there were challenges.

“It was incredibly hard, and there were a lot of surprises along the way,” Sleeper said.
Ripshin Dairy will be in attendance to showcase baby goats – kids – and Woodland Harvest Farm will have some young ducklings, Bilbao said.

“This is a wellness event, but it is also nutrition focused, and I wanted kids to meet some farmers and see what a farm is actually about,” she said.

There will also be live music, two yoga classes and local artists at the event.

While the event’s target audience is kids and family, Bilbao said she is hopeful that the rest of the community will make a strong showing to kick-off the event.

“We want to educate kids about food and bring back cooking,” Bilbao said. “I want kids to realize that being healthy can be fun.”

Guests are also invited to bring their own food for the picnic.

If everything goes accordingly, Bilbao hopes the tradition of Feastival will live on in subsequent events after her graduation. “Claire really wanted to create an environment for families to learn about wellness, and that is what Feastival is,” Sleeper said.

A $1 to $5 donation entrance fee is suggested, and proceeds will benefit the F.A.R.M. Café gardens and the BLAST afterschool program.

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