Top 8 Tips for Visiting BITE NW Arkansas
This post was created in partnership with Octagon and BITE NW Arkansas and Visit Bentonville. Thank you for always supporting the sponsors that keep Go French Yourself creating!!!!
This was my 2nd year to attend BITE in Bentonville Arkansas and If I were you, I would add this fantastic culinary event to your bucket list! This is the ultimate food event for industry insiders, media and food fans alike hosted at the amazing 8th Street Market just minutes away from downtown Bentonville. I have a lot of friends and readers that have never attended so my number one priority is making sure you have an unforgettable and positive experience at BITE 2020. For one thing, this is such an easy event to get to especially if you are coming in from Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas City!
Now that I have two BITE NW Arkansas events under my belt, let me put this one concern to rest for any other newbies - If all you do is buy your tickets and show up, you will have a great time! I promise. The event planners for BITE do a very good job of creating an inclusive environment! And of course there are several things you can do to enhance your experience. So here are some tips for you to consider when planning your trip to the best foodie event next summer.
Tip #1: Buy your tickets as early as possible. This event always sells out way in advance. It was sad to see people walking up to the entrance thinking they could by tickets when they arrived, only to be turned away. You can buy your tickets online at https://www.bitenwa.com/tickets/.
Tip #2: Buy the right ticket. There are three different ticket options depending on the evening you want to attend. Wednesday night is BITE | SPARK. SPARK is all about igniting your palate with influences from across the world right here in Northwest Arkansas’s own backyard. They are challenging you to SPARK a new love for different cuisines and flavors inspired by Walmart’s own international reach. Embrace the unique flavors that define cultures by taking a bite beyond the region. Thursday night is BITE | DISCOVER. Here is where you will explore the innovative personalities and cutting edge culinary culture of the region. Reserve a seat at the chef’s table or savor top restaurants and brands at this world-class celebration of the creativity found right here in Northwest Arkansas. At BITE’s signature event, they invite you to DISCOVER the unexpected with them. The festival concludes with BITE | CRAFT on Friday evening. BITE NW Arkansas culminates with the celebration of the local spirit of the community. Revel in the local, playful side of the region while enjoying what’s hot right here at home in Arkansas—from craft burgers to artisan snacks curated by your favorite local food makers and everything in between. CRAFT comes in many forms!
Tip #3: Complete your event schedule. If you are reading this and have already bought your tickets, you need to immediately plan your chef table experiences curated by The James Beard Foundation. The chef demo experiences fill up within weeks of when tickets go on sale, so if there is someone you really want to meet and learn from, sign up as soon as you can. This was my absolute favorite part of BITE this year as I did not get a chance to explore this last year and now I won’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a series of interactive cooking demonstrations with featured local and national chefs. Demonstrations take place inside Brightwater Culinary School, with students and faculty on hand to prepare each featured chef’s dish to allow attendees of the Chef’s Table Experience the opportunity to taste what is being prepared on stage. BITE ticket-holders will be given the opportunity to sign up to attend the cooking demonstrations for free. Reservations will open in May and all BITE ticket-holders will be notified on how to sign up. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview two of the chefs that participated this year! Catch my interview with Chef Ro here. And catch the interview with Chef Abby Milam here.
Tip# 4: Make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. Things fill up quickly! I recommend 21C Museum Hotel which you can read all about in this post.
Tip #5: Pace yourself! You will be exposed to a sensory overload of great food, drinks, and culinary training experiences. Think of this as a marathon, and you will quickly burn out if you try to sprint through and taste everything. The food and drink offerings in the tents will be there for 3 days, so take your time, sip gently, and enjoy yourself.
Tip #6: Dress comfortably. The best description of the proper attire for this event is “smart casual”. The event is mostly outdoors and summers are HOT in Arkansas. You will sweat! You will need to find some shade and cool off every so often. And other than the cooking demonstrations and a few indoor vendor areas you will spend the majority of your time standing or walking. Most people wear shorts or sundresses. Bring sunglasses too! And maybe a hat! And definitely take advantage of the photo opps. You can even do yoga and there was a business offering chair massages this year!
Tip #7: Get excited about the after hour parties. With BITE ending at 9, you can still enjoy some fun with friends and family and really make a late night of it!
Tip #8: Experience the wonderful tenants and merchants that occupy 8th Street Market. The first year that I attended most were closed or not even yet occupied where this year it was so nice to have vendors doors open! Plus it was so nice to cool off in some A.C.
How cute are the gals from Hillfolf Textile Studio + Shop ?!!!
Now who is excited for BITE 2020??!!!!!!!!!