Juneteenth Foodways Festival Partner Application

Foodways Festival

Juneteenth Foodways Festival Partner Application

Want to be a food or retail partner at the 2nd annual Juneteenth Foodways Festival at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site? Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Juneteenth Foodways Festival?

The Juneteenth Foodways Festival, made possible through the generosity of Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, celebrates the many ways in which Black culinary traditions have influenced American culture by exploring the story of White House Chef Dolly Johnson and promoting local Black-owned businesses. The public is invited to join us at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site for this free event to sample the delectable offerings of our local Black-owned food partners, browse our retail partner booths, and learn about Dolly Johnson, the White House Chef hired by President Benjamin Harrison, who served four US Presidents.

The 2nd Annual Juneteenth Foodways Festival will be open to the public on Friday, June 16 2023, from 4:30-8:00 pm. Early Access Pass holders are welcome from 3:30PM-4:30PM. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged to avoid long entrance lines.


Who was Dolly Johnson and how is she being celebrated?

Dolly Johnson was a renowned Black caterer and chef from Lexington, Kentucky, hired by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889 to replace the French chef who was employed at the White House when he took office. Johnson would go on to bring All-American cooking to the tables of three additional administrations: Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt. After leaving the White House, Johnson returned to Kentucky and opened several successful restaurants in Lexington.

The Juneteenth Foodways event highlights Dolly Johnson’s legacy with an emphasis on Black culture and food throughout the festival. We are partnering with Freetown Village actors and interpreters, who will bring Johnson’s story to life through performances on the half hour at the Welcome Center. Food partners are invited and encouraged to recreate on of Dolly Johnson’s recipes. (Partners who are pre-approved to recreate a recipe will receive a $200 stipend.*)

*Stipends will be distributed upon fulfilment of the following terms: recipe must be pre-approved by the Juneteenth Foodways Festival planning committee; recipe should be faithfully re-created and offered throughout the duration of the event to the best of the vendor’s ability.


Who can apply to be a Juneteenth Foodways Festival Partner?

We welcome applications from Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, caterers, retailers, artists, and more from across central Indiana!


Why partner with the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site?

The inaugural Juneteenth Foodways festival in 2022 welcomed over 1,100 guests. Attendance at the second annual Juneteenth Foodways Festival is expected to be even bigger. Participating in the Juneteenth Foodways festival will expose your business to a diverse array of potential new customers from across central Indiana.

The Presidential Site hopes to make your participation in this event as logistically smooth as possible. Approved partners will have access to: two 8ft tables, four chairs, linens, one 8ft white tent, personalized signage, handwashing stations, electric, and other resources upon request. All partners will be required to provide their own payment system, and 100% of the proceeds from sales at the event go to the participating partner. Food partners will also be eligible for a stipend of $200 for serving an approved Dolly Johnson recipe, as discussed in a previous section.


What will the day of the event look like?

Juneteenth Foodways food partners are welcome to begin load in at 9:00 AM on June 16, 2023. Retail partners are welcome to begin load in at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2023. All partners must be completely set up NO LATER THAN 3:00 PM on June 16th.

Early Access Pass guests will begin arriving at 3:30 PM. The grounds will open at 4:30 to pre-registered guests. At 7:00, we will begin welcoming walk-in guests. This structure will ensure the grounds will not be overly crowded at any one time and keep lines manageable.

A performer from program partner Freetown Village will be portraying Dolly Johnson every half hour in the Welcome Center throughout the event. Guests are welcome to tour the first floor of the residence during the event. Tear down will begin promptly at 8:00 PM. All equipment must be removed from the Presidential Site that night.


How to apply?

Food partners will be asked to offer 4-5 moderately priced menu options for the event, which will be included in their application. Potential food partners are strongly encouraged to focus on developing small portion offerings, as guests will enjoy purchasing food from multiple vendors rather than getting an entire meal from one vendor. Applications are open until March 1, 2023. Fill out your application online by clicking “Apply Now” below.

Please note that this is a competitive application process. Make your application stand out by highlighting menu and retail items that speak to the cultural heritage and contributions of Black foodways to American culture and providing submitting images of your menu items or products. Your application must be received by the event organizers no later than March 1, 2023. If selected, you will be notified by email by April 15, 2023. Only fully completed applications received by the deadline will be considered. If you have any questions, please contact Shanét Wallace, Special Event Coordinator at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site at swallace@bhpsite.org.

Apply Now

“Independency of thought is the first requisite of the responsible citizen.” Benjamin Harrison

Declare your Support


Share the life stories, arts and culture of your 23rd President


Renew your membership with us.


Support a legacy.


Share the life stories, arts and culture of your 23rd President


Click to renew your membership.


Click to support the legacy.

Subscribe to eNews
Monday - Thursday 10am, 12pm, 2pm
Friday - Saturday hourly 10am-2pm; Sunday 12pm-2pm


Due to a special event, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site will be closed for tours on Friday, June 16, 2023.


Thank You!

Thank you for being an important part of the Presidential Site and sharing a legacy in action!


Enter your email below to check your subscription