In advance of the 13th annual Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Columbia’s Free Times which is owned by the Post & Courierhas just announced that it will be partnering with Five Points for an inaugural Columbia Food + Wine Festival happening Sun. April 15.

“We started talking about this just a couple months ago,” says Free Times marketing and communications manager Kelsey Farnham. “We felt like Columbia was missing something, there wasn’t a high-end festival.” Free Times events manager Meg Senn concurs agreeing that this was a natural evolution, adding, “Free Times has been working to create great events in the community.”

“Five Points had this in the back of their brain. It was an organic collab that has worked really well,” Senn continues. Farnham and Senn say that while the festival will start as a one-day only celebration, they hope to expand, “Five Points has such a great foot print so it [the festival] can expand to more green space.”

They can’t say who the participating chefs will be yet, but expect “great chefs, live entertainment, live art, and great restaurants from the Midlands.”

“It’s a jewel in the middle of the state. We’re celebrating the food scene in Columbia which has been growing,” says Senn. “Free Times has been where people go to see what is happening, what’s next. It’s a great marriage — we have a pulse [on the city] and we’re celebrating Columbia’s food community.”

As far as competing with the Lowcountry’s internationally acclaimed culinary extravaganza, Senn and Farhnam say this is its own thing.

“It’s completely separate, it’s hyperlocal for the Midlands. The event will be shutting down Saluda Avenue. It’s a one stop shop for everything, all contained within one footprint.”

Look for tickets to go on sale next Wed. Feb. 7.

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