One giant family dinner to take over downtown

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tickets going fast for June 24’s Farm to Trade event

TRYON — Trade Street will swap out “commerce” for “community” later this month, as downtown Tryon prepares to host one of its most unique — and popular — summertime events.

The Tryon Downtown Development Association will present its second Farm to Trade Street Dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, June 24. The event will feature a multiple-course, family-style meal, prepared by local businesses with ingredients sourced from Polk County and the surrounding area, which will be served to guests seated at a 360-foot table set up along Trade Street that evening.

The Tryon Downtown Development Association will host its second-ever Farm to Trade Street Dinner on Sunday, June 24. Tickets for the massive family-style dinner are on sale for $40. (Tryon Daily Bulletin file photo)

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Organizers will also set up a cash bar for the event. Swamp Rabbit Railroad, a bluegrass/Americana band, will perform throughout the evening as well.

Tickets for the event cost $40, and may be purchased at a number of downtown shops, the TDDA office or online at A total of 350 tickets will be available for a seat at the dinner table, although nonticketed visitors to downtown Tryon will still be able to enjoy the cash bar and live entertainment — shops will also remain open during the dinner.

All proceeds from the festivities will go toward the Tryon Downtown Development Association.

Being a family-style dinner, guests will share the same giant table with one another, and will pass around bowls of different dishes throughout the evening to enjoy, said Jamie Carpenter, executive director of the TDDA.

“There is a real community atmosphere [to the event],” Carpenter said. “Everyone is in good spirits, and is excited to be there and to have dinner with 350 of their neighbors.”

Sarah McClure, head chef with Landrum’s Southside Smokehouse and one of South Carolina’s 2018 chef ambassadors, will cook up the main course for the evening, smoking a whole hog from Bradley Farms.

Other items on the menu that evening will include:

• Cold soup made by Erica Shanks at Bearded Bird Farm

• Lavender lemonade by Tryon Mountain Lavender

• Fresh baked rolls from Standing Stone Bakery

• An appetizer spread, which will include: bruschetta from A Taste of Olives & Grapes and Go Garlic farm; wild mushroom crostini from Side Street Pizza; boiled peanuts from the Tryon Bottle; charcuterie from Hickory Nut Gap Farms; and cheese from Looking Glass Creamery

• Potato salad from McGourty’s Pub

• Fresh local vegetables prepared by Lavender Bistro

• Dirty rice from Stone Soup, prepared using hand-milled grains from Anson Mills

Du Jour, located inside downtown Tryon’s Jackson Building, will prepare dessert for the dinner, Carpenter said.

Members of the Polk County High School Marching Wolverines will be the servers for the evening, with all tips going to support the local band.

This will be the TDDA’s second Farm to Trade Street Dinner. The organization started the event in 2016, after members were inspired by similar family-style dinners hosted in other communities across the country, Carpenter said.

“Agriculture has always been a really strong part of our local economy, and we have some really great farms,” Carpenter said. “Plus, Tryon has always been a place for dinner parties and social functions. [The dinner] just seemed like a great fit…and the visual of having a 300-plus-foot dinner table running down Trade Street is a great way to draw attention to our downtown.”

The initial dinner was a huge success, with more than 350 guests taking a seat along the giant table, which spanned the length of a football field, Carpenter said.

Wanting to keep the event fresh, the TDDA decided to host the dinner every two years. Judging by the initial surge in early ticket sales, the yearlong break has done little to diminish demand for this year’s sophomore effort, Carpenter said.

While the 2018 event will retain most of the trappings from the first Farm to Trade, organizers have made some minor adjustments to fight the late June heat, including moving the table closer to the embankment to allow for more shade, installing giant fans along the road to circulate air and moving the event to later in the evening, when temperatures are a bit cooler, Carpenter said.

With the TDDA already selling half of the available tickets for the June 24 event, organizers are encouraging interested guests to secure their seat at the dinner table sooner rather than later, Carpenter said.

“It’s a great way to see Tryon at its best,” she said. “[The dinner] is what people in town are all about: fun, community and supporting our local agriculture and downtown.”

For more information, people may call 828-859-6484.