I received an invite to attend the Vaughan Pizza Fest at the Woodbridge Fair Grounds held from July 14 to 16th. The festival is in it's 2nd year. There aren't many big festivals in Vaughan but I think a few people are trying to create some new ones.
It's about a half hour drive from me but without a car it's a bit of a trek. I thought it might be fun to check it out on a quiet sunday and a friend suggested taking the Vaughan Mills Shuttle to get there. Good idea maybe. It's a free shuttle. But the thing is that it only leaves at 2 times from Front Street. At 8:30am and 1pm. There was no way I would go at 8:30 so I opted for 1pm. Well I wasn't sure how it worked so I left my house at 11:30am and got there early so I had a drink at Starbucks while waiting. There are 2 buses. By the time I found out what the procedure was I missed the first bus but I got on the second bus and we left about 1:10pm. It takes about 45 min to get to Vaughan Mills which is great because there are no stops on the way. Traffic was good luckily.
It's a free shuttle so that was great. I wish it left earlier so that I would have had time to wander around Vaughan Mills for a bit. But I had my friend who lives in Vaughan come and pick me up from there to get to the Woodbridge Fair Grounds.
We got there about 15 minutes later. We arrive at the parking lot and the attendant asks us for $10 for the entrance fee. We tell him that we are supposed to check in for Media but he doesn't know where that's supposed to be so he directs us to park behind the stage area. We walk in from there and proceed to try and find somewhere to check in. Nobody seems to know where we are supposed to go. We finally go to one of the ticket stations and one of the organizers happened to be walking by so he gave us some food tickets. We had 10 each. Most of the pizzas were from 8 to 10 tickets. A little while later the organizer got us a slice of the pizza that Philadelphia Pizza King Joe Beddia made from Pizzeria Bedia. He is a big deal apparently. He only makes 40 pizzas a day and has lineups around the block for his pizzas. I don't know why they go crazy for them but the crust was really good. It had a crunch and didn't flop from the weight of the cheese. The sauce and cheese were ok. He sprinkles some herbs on top too.
We only tried one other pizza and that was from Bestia Food Truck. I heard that they made good pizzas but I hadn't had a chance to check it out before. I liked the simple sauce and the cheese was good fiore de latte cheese. The crust good but a bit flimsy in the middle as most Neopolitan crusts are but I really liked the authentic Italian taste of it.
We only tried one other Pizza and that was from Bestia Pizza Truck. I heard they had good pizzas so I got the Margherita pizza. It was a good traditional Neopolitan pizza. Fresh tomato sauce and basil with Fiore de Latte cheese. Not too much toppings and the crust tasted good but like most it got soggy in the middle after a few minutes but I really liked the taste of it.
It was great to see Festival regular vendor Holy Cannoli at the festival. I used my last tickets to get some Cannoli's for the road.
Besides the food vendors there was a ferris wheel and Carnival games and things for kids and for the Adults there were several high profile acts. Stevie B packed the festival on the Friday night. I left a couple of hours before David Usher was supposed to perform on the sunday night to close the festival.
It was super hot that day so it was probably the slowest day of the festival and the weather reports threatened rain the whole day while black clouds loomed above. Luckily we missed the rain.
It was great to hang out in Vaughan with my Vaughan resident friend and after the festival we went for some Italian Gelato to top our Italian themed day.
While the journey there took me a while about 2 1/2 from home to the festival. I probably won't do that again. My friend gave me a ride back to Wilson Station so that I didn't have to rush to get the shuttle at 6pm and go downtown again. I think if I go again I would just get a Zipcar to go for a few hours. I think it would save me a whole lot of time. But the good thing is that since it's in Vaughan there is Free Parking. That doesn't happen at Toronto Festivals anymore.
This festival is a bit green to me. They need a bit of festival experience under their belt and staff that are trained a bit more but I still had a good time hanging out with my friend.
For more information check their website: http://vaughanpizzafest.com/