The second annual El Dorado Food Festival is underway and local residents and visitors from out of town are encouraged to participate by supporting El Dorado restaurants.
The festival officially kicked off on October 1, but discounts and specials from local restaurants and the opportunity to win prizes, including a $ 1,000 grand prize, have been available to the public since late August.
The El Dorado food festival will end on October 31.
The event was launched in 2020 as a unique idea to help local restaurants whose operations have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A statewide warrant banned indoor dining in restaurants and bars for several months last year due to the pandemic. In June 2020, Don Hale, President and Owner of the Diamond Agency, approached the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission with a request for funding to create the EFF.
Hale noted at the time that the local hospitality industry had been hit hard by the public health crisis and that the Diamond Agency – A & P’s benchmark advertising agency – had received several requests for help with advertising ideas. and promotional products to increase customer traffic.
Diamond Agency staff had met with several local businesses and learned that local restaurants, in particular, needed a promotional campaign that would attract customers after the indoor dining rooms reopened, Hale said.
A&P curators have agreed to support the event with a pledge of $ 5,987 to help promote it.
The result was a non-traditional festival that spanned two months – September and October – and showcased the variety of dining options available in the city.
Local restaurants have banded together to offer coupons, which were compiled into a booklet and included in the Fall 2020 edition of the quarterly magazine El Dorado Insider.
Coupon books could also be picked up at several locations, including City Hall, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, local hotels, the Arkansas Visitor Center, and the Diamond agency office.
On the back of each coupon was an entry form to win a grand prize of $ 500 cash. The forms could be dropped off in collection boxes set up in participating restaurants.
Several lucky winners also won Murphy USA gas cards, valued at $ 50 each and distributed weekly during the food festival.
To be eligible for the weekly giveaway, diners were encouraged to take a photo of their meal, post it on Instagram, tag @eldoradoinsider, and mention the respective restaurant in their posts.
The Insider also featured photos of dishes from local restaurants on their social media pages weekly to further attract potential customers.
Local resident Larry Andrews won the grand prize of $ 500 in 2020. Andrews had submitted his entry form to Main Street Pizza.
The event was considered a success, with restaurateurs and managers asking to continue the El Dorado Food Festival this year.
In response, the A&P Commission and many other sponsors have teamed up again to present EFF 2021.
Commissioners approved a $ 5,000 funding request in July to help promote the festival by covering the cost of billboards, 10,000 coupon booklets, registration boxes, radio promotion and social media posts. .
Hale previously said that the EFF follows the same basic format as in 2020 with a few changes.
The duration of the festival has been reduced to one month – October – instead of two; MUSA gift cards are distributed weekly and cards are valid for purchases of gasoline or merchandise at MUSA stores; and the grand prize was doubled to $ 1,000 in cash.
The grand prize winner will be announced in a raffle that will take place at the end of the festival.
Like last year, festival organizers rely heavily on social media posts to promote the event.
Entrants are once again encouraged to take a photo of their meal and post it on Insider’s Facebook or Instagram pages for a chance to win the weekly prizes.
Local restaurants have already reported an increase in restaurant and takeout patrons in recent weeks, claiming that several attendees have taken the festival a boost by using the coupons during the publication and distribution of the festival. Fall 2021 edition of Insider in August.
Hale said people who received the coupons could start using them immediately.
Booklets contain over 30 coupons with discounts and specials including free appetizers, desserts, drinks and entrees with purchases at the regular menu price or 10% off the ticket. ‘a customer.
Most coupons expire on October 31, while some are valid until November.
Hale said that the participation of local restaurants this year “has been excellent” and that they are looking to replicate the success of the inaugural EFF.
In addition to receiving discounts, Hale said attendees also have the opportunity to experience and experience the variety of restaurant dishes available at El Dorado.
Participating restaurants include Off the Rail, Flying Burger, Main Streets Pizza, T-Models Pit Stop, Timberlane Meat Market, Boomtown Bistro, Pupp’s BBQ, E&R (Elm Street Bakery and Rascals), Three Birds Brewing Company, Fayrays, Banderas Steakhouse, Flying Burger, Diamond Nutrition, JJ’S BBQ, The Black Cat, Antigua’s, The Olde Towne Store, Larry’s Pizza and Wildcat Steakhouse and Grill.
Other sponsors of EFF 2021 are Murphy USA, Michelob ULTRA, Hepco, Inc., Glenn Mechanical and Standard Lithium.
For more information call The Diamond Agency at 870-862-1010 or email [email protected]