Plan an Annual Food & Wine Festival

In early 2017, BC Magazine’s Brandon, Sharon, and Steve Goldstein approached Personal Touch Experience’s John and Ashley in hopes of developing an annual food and wine festival to benefit a deserving organization. The planning process began with discussing potential dates, locations, and benefit recipients. In due time, the production team chose Bergen County’s 200 Club as a worthy recipient given their extraordinary aid in helping families of law enforcement, fire, and EMS personnel in the event of their death or injury.

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In creating unforgettable experiences for guests, venues are of critical importance; therefore, the Goldstein Family and Personal Touch Experience choose a local landmark - Westfield Garden State Plaza - as a stunning backdrop for this annual event. To ensure this location met all local safety specifications, the production team met with Paramus Borough’s Board of Health to discuss expectations regarding the storage of food and sanitation, as well as local officials from the police, fire, building, and EMT department concerning traffic flow, potential emergencies, and security. These Paramus Borough stakeholders were essential contributors in ensuring the success of the event.

Simultaneously, BC Magazine and the Goldstein family spearheaded the search for vendors by visiting local stalwarts and discussing the festival’s vision. Their efforts solidified over seventy restaurants across the Bergen County area known for their exquisite and delicious food and drinks. In the weeks leading up to the big event, Personal Touch Experience reached out to each vendor to discuss event production – specifically the vendors’ rental needs, their storage of food, and safety precautions. These discussions ensured that the festival weekend would run smoothly and allowed each vendor to feel valued and prepared.


Since the Inserra Family (Shoprite Catering) was the leading sponsor and vendor, the production team choose to highlight their floral department and paper products at the festival. This generous family donated seasonal fall flowers including mums, cabbages, and haystacks which became the focal point of Ashley – our event specialist’s – design vision. To continue this fall look, Ashley and her team chose to line the tent with greenery, create haystack seating areas, and utilize pumpkins as décor.

As the guest count continued to rise, John and his team began studying the process of annual food festival and successful companies all across the country to determine how to move large crowds. Accordingly, Personal Touch Experience modeled the event flow and logistics of the Food and Wine Festival after Disney Parks. With this, John reiterated to his team the importance of keeping the grounds clean and the customers pleasant. To do so, John delegated roles to each staff member– whether it be a greeter, sanitation assistant, or VIP attendant – who took pride in their position working to the best of their ability to ensure a successful day. 

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When planning a large event like the Food and Wine festival, it is essential to consider the weather. A little known fact is that the original 2017 festival tent was supposed to have a clear roof but given the summer-like weather, our design plan had to be altered. To ensure all guests remained cool during their visit, John decided to sporadically place water stations throughout the festival.

John reflected on this event by saying, “Jeff Bezos says that to be successful you have to be willing to be misunderstood. I am sure that naysayers were baffled when the Goldstein’s and Personal Touch Experience shared our vision but by aligning the right team, we were able to pull off a spectacular event.” John is right – with BC Magazine’s advertising and social media presence paired with Personal Touch Experience’s expertise in the industry the duo was able to make an annual tradition.

The Second Annual Bergen County Food and Wine Festival will be taking place on September 15th and 16th. Our team is greatly looking forward to seeing you there! Get your tickets today: https://www.bergencountyfoodandwine.com/tickets

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