Starting tonight, First becomes Feast

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First Avenue between Main and Alder Streets will be shut down at 5 today in preparation for the foodie festival known as Feast Walla Walla.

A giant tent will be set up along the block starting around 6 p.m. Preparations inside for the three-hour Feast will begin Saturday morning, Downtown Walla Walla Foundation officials said.

Billed as the community's premiere food and wine event, Feast brings restaurants and wineries under one roof and serves as one of the kickoffs to the tourism season with savory samples.

Nearly a dozen restaurants, eateries and chefs will represent with everything from green curry halibut and applewood-smoked barbecue pulled pork sliders to red wine cupcakes.

More than 30 wineries will also be pouring at the event. Tickets are $50 and include a glass, plate and 10 tokens to trade for samples of food or drinks, which will also include beer, cider and mead.

Live music will be performed and work from featured artists Nano Lopez, Todd Telander, Doug Gisi and Colleen Monette will also be on display.

About 220 tickets had been pre-sold as of this morning. That's about 25 over last year's event at this time. Hundreds more are expected to be sold Saturday. The event runs 1-4 p.m. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit feastwallawalla.com.

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CrossRoads Steakhouse is rolling out its spring/summer hours, as well as the return of lunch service.

The downtown Walla Walla restaurant, 207 W. Main St., is bringing back lunch Tuesday through Saturday with new salads, sandwiches and burgers, said owner Kim Kelly Frank. Dining room lunch hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The lounge offers lunch 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The new menu is available for perusal at crossroadssteakhouse.com or on Facebook.

Those who drop in Tuesday nights can get a snow crab feast in honor of "Deadliest Catch" night. The show will play in the lounge, and half-pound and 1-pound crab dinners with salad and garlic bread are available there and throughout the restaurant.

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AmericanWest Bank is hosting a massive food drive this month to assist families across Washington and Idaho.

The companywide event runs through April 30. All food and cash donations made in Walla Walla will go directly to the Blue Mountain Action Council, 342 Catherine St., to help stock shelves before children are out of school for summer vacation, said Patty Tunnell, personal banker.

Bank employees are partnering with customers and businesses to help with the efforts. They'll take to Main Street next Wednesday to collect donations from local businesses. Contributions can also be made at Harvest Foods, 905 S. Second Ave.

The efforts come at a time when more food may be needed to help families normally benefitting from subsidized lunch programs offered through the school district. To learn more about Blue Mountain Action Council, call 529-4980.

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The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce is offering a glimpse of its upcoming Tuscan trip with a showing of "Under the Tuscan Sun" on Monday.

Sapolil Cellars, 15 E. Main St., will host the movie event. The feature film shows scenic highlights of special spots that will be visited during a group trip to Italy in November.

The Chamber has partnered with World Wide Travel Service to get group rates on the trip and is inviting local residents to travel along. A presentation on the journey will kick off at 5:30 p.m. The film will begin afterward. An Italian menu and full bar will also be offered.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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