Pick up pottery, art, jewelry, a mezuzah, and healthy community vibes at April 14 Food Fest

Nearly two-dozen exhibitors will add an enhanced level of engagement for the thousands of guests at next weekend’s Jewish Food and Culture Fest on April 14. You’ll want to visit all the artisans and area nonprofits — including local Jewish organizations — that will be selling their wares and spreading the word about their contributions to the community.

Read our three exhibitor spotlights below before perusing our comprehensive guide.

A panoramic photo of the Food Fest is superimposed with a pictures of a variety of products that will be available from artisan exhibitors.
Exhibitors at the April 14 Jewish Food and Culture Fest will range from artisans selling pottery, jewelry, art, and wood products to Jewish organizations and health-focused nonprofits.

From pens to mezuzahs

New to this year’s Fest (and the most distant traveler to attend) is New Orleans artisan NOLA Pens.

After seeing a number of oak trees unceremoniously carted off from a public park in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, lifetime New Orleans resident Greg Levy was convinced there was a better way. He got his chance when a large oak was felled by termites. After park staff gave him the tree, Greg used it to make functional keepsake pens. He soon expanded his craft to include cypress and even mahogany from broken seats of the city’s iconic streetcars.

One day the wife of a local rabbi asked Greg if he could make decorative cases for mezuzahs — the small parchment scrolls that are affixed to doorposts and that include the Hebrew words of the shema, or daily declaration of faith. He added the product to his lineup.

Greg’s newest offerings are pens and mezuzahs made from Bethlehem olivewood that was sustainably sourced from Holy Land groves. 

Pottery is her passion

One of our returning artisans  is Barbara Boreen-Parks from Deerwood Pottery, who got hooked on pottery a decade ago and used the pandemic to hone her skills. “The feel of the clay in my hands and knowing that I am only limited by my imagination is both freeing and exciting,” she says. “I never know what the day will bring, or what the glaze or my unpredictable kilns are going to do — no two pieces are ever the same!” 

Helping folks keep their pets

The name for the Sugarbelle Foundation is derived from the names of two beloved pets: a cat named Sugarfoot and a dog named Holly Belle. The organization is a non-traditional “rescue” group whose goal is to prevent families from having to make the difficult decision to surrender pets to overcrowded and under-resourced animal shelters.  

With so many animals being given up because owners fall on hard times, the Sugarbelle Foundation steps in to help with food and other necessities. By providing assistance to pet owners in the form of food, veterinary services, and sometimes just connecting an owner to the right resources, the organization’s small volunteer staff has had a measurable impact on the community.  

2024 Exhibitor Guide