HughE Dillon: Third Annual Feastival

Stephen Starr, the Rendells, Philly's fave chefs and more turn out for Live Arts/Philly Fringe fund-raiser.

The third annual Audi Feastival returned to Pier 9 on the Delaware River under the glow of the Ben Franklin Bridge last night. Hard to believe, but it was a bigger success than the year before, with nearly 950 people in attendance. After working out some of the kinks from last year—new layout, better venting—and being blessed with more seasonable weather, event organizers saw a crowd linger well past the 9 p.m. ending time. More than 85 restaurants served dishes to the hungry crowd; I was impressed how they were lined up, most of them next to their sister restaurant. For example, all of Stephen Starr’s 21 restaurants were next to each other, putting me in Starr heaven. Feastival took in much-needed money for the annual Live Arts/Philly Fringe, which is going on right now and runs through September 22nd. Pictured: Richard Vague, board president of the festival, restaurateurs Stephen Starr, Audrey Claire Taichman, and Michael Solomonov, David Lipson, president of Metro Corp., and Nick Stuccio, producing director of Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe.

Below: Co-chairs for this year’s event were Jesse and Beka Rendell, along with real estate attorney Tony Forte. Beka told me she loved the atmosphere and was especially impressed by the Brian Sanders JUNK performances in the center of the room, and was looking forward to trying many of the fantastic-looking dishes offered at the event. She and Jesse had a great time co-chairing this year and were excited to see some of their friends who were there for the first time.

Since debuting three years ago, Feastival really has become one of the must-attend events. It’s dressy, but casual, and attracts the who’s who of Philadelphia in the food world as well as the business sector. Below: Always-stylish couple Amber Goins and Pedro Gomes didn’t have to bother with the free valet service as they arrived by foot from their Waterfront Square Condo.

Below: Avi Eden, director of Bel Fuse, Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor, and Greta Greenberger, director of City Hall tours.

Below: Rachel Rossitto and J. Andrew Stein, managing partner at Commonwealth Proper, which provides custom and ready-to-wear garments for the contemporary gentleman. Last week, Commonwealth had a successful Fashion Night Out cocktail party at the Union League with Ryan Brown, Bela Shehu, Dana Spain, Eric Cahill, Justin Fine, and Jon Dorenbos among the guests.

Below: These three chefs have more in common than just having their restaurant stands next to each other at Feastival. They all spent time in the kitchen at Rittenhouse Hotel’s Lacroix: Jon Cichon, current Lacroix executive chef, Jason Cichonski, chef/owner of Ela, and Lee Styer, chef/owner of Fond. The trio will join seven other former chefs, each coming back under one roof for one night only to celebrate Lacroix’s 10th anniversary. The restaurant will be holding a special dinner for $350 (tax and tip included) with a ten-course meal and wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds will go toward a Lacroix scholarship through the James Beard Foundation.

Below: Laurada Byers president and CEO of the Byerschool Foundation, Michael Sanyour, board of Philadelphia Film Festival, which he wants to remind us is coming up October 18th, and art patrons Diane Dalto Woosnam and Richard Woosnam.

Below: Former Gov. Ed Rendell enjoys mini Sicilian meatballs from Sal D’Angelo’s restaurant, D’Angelo’s. Later in the evening, Rendell acted as emcee for the live auction. Some of the highlights were a pair of Super Bowl tickets to attend with Rendell, including first-class airfare and accommodations. It went for $7,500. A dinner party with Pierre Calmels of Bibou, Jon Cichon of Lacroix, Jeff Michaud of Osteria, Mitch Prensky of Supper, Dan Stern of R2L and Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette in the kitchen went for $16,000.

Below: Tony Rim, Drew Milstein, Michelle Chung and Tony Rufo, Jr.. Drew and Tony are just about a month away from opening her new project, the Corner Foodery at 1710 Sansom Street. They’ll carry over 800 gourmet beers from around the country and serve simple sandwiches with cured meats by Corner chef John Taus.

Below: Erica Lester, Marc Leon (a 2011 Daily News Sexy Single), Megan Haney, and Jason Early.

Below: Gibran Gadsden, Alphonso Morris and Julian Duggin, co-founders at MyArtistDNA, were one of the sponsors of Feastival. They just participated in Made in America. Thanks to all the sponsors and participants this year. What a fun event. I love this venue too.