Updated: Nov 20
I've attended The Family Reunion for multiple years, at times paying my own money to travel there and attend and also working with Food & Wine Magazine for their social coverage of this event. This post also contains *affiliate* links, which means that I may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. I only provide links to products that I use and wholeheartedly recommend.
So, what's the deal with The Family Reunion?
I was lucky to be able to attend the inaugural Family Reunion in 2021, which really felt like an intimate celebration of Black food and wine. From chefs to local food lovers, the crowd had such a diversity of backgrounds, but all came to have a good time. The energy was so great it's hard to describe. And I'm happy to report that in 2022, the second iteration of this festival was just as amazing.
But wait, what is this Black food and wine festival really like? How much does it cost and what's included in the price? Is it worth it? Who all is going?
I'll do my best to answer those questions and give you a peek at the event from my perspective. Keep reading below for more.
Scenes from the inaugural Family Reunion in 2021 including Anela with Nina Oduro and Maame Boakye, the founders of Dine Diaspora, a plate of barbecue, and with Dr. Jessica B. Harris, author, and food historian.
What Is The Family Reunion?
With a slate of talented Black culinarians, authors, and personalities participating, the Family Reunion is an "immersive experience celebrating diversity in the hospitality community."
Over the four days, festival events include activities such as chef takeovers, dance halls, multicourse meals served family style, fundraising events, and expert panels. Panel sessions on topics ranging from Black hair and professionalism to the history of soul food encompass a broad range of issues.
The Family Reunion schedule also includes activities like the chance to go ziplining or axe throwing, giving attendees an opportunity to let loose and experience the expansive property at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA, the Black-owned luxury property where the event is held.
So what is The Family Reunion? Think of it Black af food and wine festival with lots of dynamic events, many moments of luxury, and opportunities to have a good time and learn something.
Where And When Is The Event Held?
The 3rd annual iteration of The Family Reunion is scheduled for August 17-20, 2023. Mark your calendars!
The Family Reunion is held at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. This five-star, 340-acre luxury property is owned by Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET. Guests have a variety of activities available to them on the property, including zip-lining, archery, an equestrian center, and more. I've also had amazing treatments in the spa on the property. Many activities need to be booked in advance.
How Much Does It Cost, And Is It Worth It?
This is the most common question I receive about The Family Reunion and one I'm unsure how to answer. Pricing and value are so relative. Every single person will have a different understanding of what "worth it" means. I can't answer that for them. I can, however, break down the costs and the experience so folks can decide for themselves!
2023 Family Reunion Ticket Costs
There are multiple ticket options for The Family Reunion in 2023, including:
An Overnight Package where guests stay on-site at the resort and have access to all the events, panels, and dinners, as well as one breakout session on both Friday and Saturday. Prices begin at $4990.56 for single occupancy and $6,940.56 for double occupancy.
There's also an All-Access Program Pass, which includes all the activities and events of the Overnight Pass, except attendees, must find their own lodging nearby. The All Access Pass costs $1,950 per person.
For a more limited experience, an Evening Event Pass is$750 per person and get you into the evening's events for all 3 nights (dinners and parties).
There's also the option for an Evening Event Pass (Stay in DC), where guests stay at the Salamander Resort in Washington, DC. This pass includes access to all evening events at The Family Reunion, transportation to and from Middleburg, and a $150 hotel credit for the Salamander DC. Prices for this pass begin at
$820 per night for one person and $1172 per night for two people.
Is It Worth It Though?
The Family Reunion is a luxury experience. It's held at a Black-owned luxury resort.
During the two years, I attended the festival, the alcohol was flowing, you could test drive Lexus vehicles, there was ample food, the evening parties were lit, and you could even go on an archery adventure if you wanted, all part of the included activities for the full weekend pass.
Weekend all access holders got to hear from and join activities with some of the biggest names in Black food, sip cocktails from the sponsored bar, dance the night away while a DJ kept the music going, and dig into meals prepared by some absolutely incredible Black chefs, all included in their ticket price.
Beyond money to tip service staff, I didn't pay for a single thing once on the property during the inaugural Family Reunion in 2021 or 2022. Though, of course, guests can add on experiences outside of the festival, like spa treatments, for a fee.
If the above experiences don't appeal to you, then maybe this isn't the event for you. That's ok. Though for everyone muttering that this "isn't for our people" with that price tag, the crowd of happy Black folks at last year's event would say otherwise. Ticket prices for The Family Reunion are on par with the prices for other premier food festivals. Given the level of activities included in the various ticket packages, The Family Reunion is, at times, even more, affordable than other food festivals.
Pricing aside, Black folks should have an array of experiences at different price points and styles to suit them, including luxury spaces. Black folks can create and encompass the whole range. Don't forget that.
Who All Is Going?
The Family Reunion offers a chance to have some intimate moments with Black folks doing dope shit in food. It has really felt like a space for us by us.
The evening events and parties felt very communal. It wasn't out of place to see Carla Hall leading a dance line or Dr. Jessica B. Harris sitting on a sofa having a casual chat with people in the lobby in the late hours.
It really did feel kind of like a family reunion, at least in the sense that the crowd was overwhelmingly Black. Black in all shades. Black in all sizes. Black and loud. Black and proud.
What About The Food Though?
Meals at The Family Reunion showcase the work of a variety of incredibly talented Black culinarians.
Just know that the food is good and plentiful, the vibes are immaculate, and The Family Reunion is all around a good time! Do you have any more questions about The Family Reunion? Feel free to ask them in the comments. And let me know if you're planning on attending. I'd love to see you there.
While you're in the area for the Family Reunion, check out incredible DC Black-owned restaurants
Learn more about Black foodways in the US