LACONIA — This year’s Jewish Food Festival, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, continued a 23-year tradition for the community. The members of the Temple B'nai Israel food festival committee came up with an online version of the event, offering the most popular items from the festival including cheese blintzes, New York-style meat and potato knishes, noodle kugel, rugelach pastry, matzo ball soup, traditional Jewish-style brisket, and braided challah bread. Many items were already prepared and frozen, which became the basis for the online menu. The committee then overcame technical hurdles and developed a new process for ordering and pickup.
Once the TBI website opened for orders on July 27, items began to sell out. One of the biggest surprises was the demand for matzo ball soup. Historically 20-25 quarts were sold, but this year, customers bought 107 quarts.
Through a contact free, pickup by appointment system, 150 customers picked up orders over a five-day period in 175 time slots.
In all, 280 pounds of beef brisket, 26 gallons of matzo ball soup, 560 meat knishes, 74 pounds of rugelach, 830 blintzes, 365 potato knishes, 60 noodle kugels, and 40 loaves of challah bread were purchased.
The members of Temple B’nai Israel partnered with local media including Adam Hirshan and The Laconia Daily Sun, Pat Kelly at 107.7 FM, Jeff Levitan of Northeast Communications and The Weirs Times to get the word out about the virtual event. The temple hopes to resume normal festival operations in 2021.