Bringing the flavor

·3 min read

Sep. 15—PORTSMOUTH — It will be a flavorful weekend starting this Friday as St. Mary's Church hosts its annual International Food Festival.

The festival, which will kick off Friday and go through the weekend promises to bring the flavors from around the world and the fun.

"It started more than 40 years ago," Festival Co-Chair Rick Estep said. "It started out as an October fest but has grown over the years to what it is today. The star of our festival is our food booths. We have 10 to 11 food booths serving international food."

Food will be served at the festival by booths representing American, German, Indian, Italian, Irish, Mexican, Appalachian and Asian dishes.

"The food is always a crowd-pleaser," Estep said. "What has grown over the years has been our entertainment. We try to bring in known names."

The performance lineup for the three-day festival will include performances by Josh Stewart Friday, Sirius, the Waverly High School Band and City Heat Saturday and The Party Bus Dance Band from Ashland Kentucky Sunday.

"We think we have a great lineup and are really excited to have them," Estep said.

Along with food and music, the festival will also host its annual antique custom car and truck show Saturday that will stretch from Third Street to Sixth Street in downtown Portsmouth. Throughout the years Estep shared the car show has grown just like the festival and has become a staple to the festival.

"Two years ago we had more than 200 cars," Estep said. "On Sunday we also host a tractor show."

Several other events will also take place during the three-day festival including a Flea Market that will open at 8 a.m. Saturday, children's games and inflatables, raffle drawings, craft booths and a Biergarten sponsored by the Portsmouth Brewing Company.

"Two years ago they talked me into doing a Chinese auction and it was awesome," Estep said. "It was very well received, and people loved it."

Estep shared while many of the events are free for festival-goers to enjoy, food tickets will be sold for those interested in trying the different foods.

"Each ticket is a dollar and as you go around to different food booths they will have items for different ticket amounts," Estep said.

After the event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Estep hopes residents will come out and enjoy the festival.

"We have put a lot of work into it and we are hoping the weather will be good for us," Estep said. "We hope everyone will come out and have a good time and try some delicious food."

Setup for the event will start Thursday in Downtown Portsmouth and the festival will open Friday at 5:30 p.m. For more information on the festival call 740-354-4551. Food booth tickets will be sold at the event.

Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at

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