South Philadelphia and the Queen Village Art Center welcomes the second annual Edible Book Festival that caters to a wide age group interested in food and literary fun.
Philadelphia’s second annual Edible Book Festival, organized by the Philadelphia Center for the Book and hosted by Queen Village Art Center, was a clash of contemporary art and pre-school craft time.
Fruit roll-ups, graham crackers, red Twizzlers and multi-colored sprinkles were spread out over two tables for participants to use as book building materials. On a high ledge, safe from sticky fingers, were this year’s edible book competitors ranging from a lemon square interpretation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” to a puff pastry rendering of River Song’s diary from the TV show “Doctor Who.”
The April 1st festival sought to bring food and literature together in South Philadelphia. An international event, attendees are encouraged to create edible works that have a literary component, be it a rendering of a book, interpretation of a title, or an idea taken from text.
Valeria Kremser, events chair for the Philadelphia Center for the Book, explained that the edible book regulations are kept loose because the festival does not want to “hinder any creativity.”
During the two-hour event, the dishes were displayed, the volunteer artists talked about their artistic choices and then participants voted in various categories for their favorites. Refreshments and other art-related activities were be provided throughout, as well.
The flyers for the event read “for artists of all ages,” but once at the Art Center it was clear that the art activities provided were for kids or the kid-at-heart, while the edible book competition was for those who are allowed to be in the kitchen when the stove is on or know a little more about cooking than how to make a mud pie with grass on top.
Last year the event was held at someone’s house. This year we moved to the Art Center and geared [the festival] more towards kids,” Kremser said.
The Queen Village Art Center, which has become a community center for creative learning, hosts a variety of art activities for adults and children that include summer classes, after-school programs and workshops.
The event’s sugary fun drew in a crowd of neighborhood parents, their children, and those who are involved in the Queen Village community and the Art Center.
Those who entered the competition, however, did not have a tie to the Queen Village Art Center but instead a history with Philadelphia Center for the Book, an organization dedicated to looking at books as contemporary art forms.
“I did it last year, so I thought I would do it again. I even won a prize last year,” said Jessica Hoffman, one of the five competitors, who created “vampire veggies” based on the book “Bunnicula” by Deborah and James Howe.
Al Brown, another competitor who had also been a part of Philadelphia’s first Edible Book Festival, had high hopes for winning “best book structure” with his wafer book bound together with celery strands.
Brown’s name was announced for winner of the category just as a six-year old boy pulled off the cover of his book and took a big bite.
Sinéad Cummings can be reached at email@example.com.