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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

International Sandwich Festival draws cultures together for a bite
April 28 showcase at Aldersgate
Published Monday, April 23, 2018 11:17 am
by Ashley Mahoney

Persona Bell R&B Band will perform at the third International Sandwich Festival April 28.

Food can break barriers.

That’s the aim of the third International Sandwich Festival, which returns to Aldersgate (3800 Shamrock Drive) on April 28 from 11-6 p.m.

“We have sandwiches,” said Erin Barbee, director of mission advancement at Aldersgate. “We have fun. We have entertainment, but when you think about bringing people together over a common thread that is food, all of the sudden you’re breaking down barriers. You’re saying that ‘we are just people at this point in time. We are not white, black, Hispanic, whatever. We are literally just being humans in the space of fun.’ We are creating that with an international sandwich festival.”

Three years ago, Aldersgate looked at their 231 acres of land in East Charlotte and answered the question of how they could bring people together. Food provided the answer.

“I know the thought process three years ago was, we have all this great land, and we sit on the most diverse side of town,” said Barbee, who will experience her first festival since joining Aldersgate. “East Charlotte has so many cultures, and a festival is the best way to do that. We are in competition with Charlotte, because Charlotte has so many festivals—anything you can think of. The concept of an international sandwich festival was ingenious.”

Things kick off at 11:30 a.m. with the Jazz Arts Initiative Youth Ensemble III, which is partnering with Aldersgate for the first time.

“That is a group of middle- and high school students who are a part of our jazz academy,” said JAI President and CEO Lonnie Davis. “They will be performing in a jazz ensemble capacity at the festival that morning. They’re very excited, and definitely looking forward to participating.”

Said Barbee: “The festival is a great experience, because No.1 it’s free admission. That you don’t find often. Free parking. Free entertainment. We invite people to come and bring their blankets, their chairs and their families, because it’s for everyone, and to just enjoy the day together.”

Other entertainment includes UNC Charlotte’s Drums of the World, Ballet Folklorico of Julio Ruiz and Persona Bell R&B Band.

“You really win when you have food trucks, family and fun,” Barbee said. “That’s just a winning combination.”
Five food trucks will offer Cuban (A Piece of Havana), Venezuelan (Arepadas), Indian (Chaupaati), Korean (Hiya Food Truck) and Yummy Bahn Mi (Vietnamese).

“The sandwich in different cultures can mean different things,” Barbee said. “We think peanut butter and jelly or a BLT, but in different cultures it may be an arepa or a torta. What we want to do is to have people try those different cultural sandwiches, and to do it in a communal place.”


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