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All About The Family Reunion: The Annual Black Food & Wine Festival At The Salamander Resort

Updated: Mar 7

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 and 2023, I found the festival just as engaging, lux, and fun as the first year.


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.


A Remy 75 on the bar at the inaugural Family Reunion

What Is The Family Reunion?

The Family Reunion is a four-day festival hosted by Chef Kwame Onwuachi in collaboration with Food & Wine and Salamander Hotels.


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 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 (at least those with an all-access pass) 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 as 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 Family Reunion Held?


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.


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How Much Does The Family Reunion 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!


2024 Family Reunion Ticket Costs

There are multiple ticket options for The Family Reunion in 2024, including:


An All-Access Middleburg 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 $5,050 for single occupancy and $7,250 for double occupancy.


There's also an All-Access 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 $2,200 per person.


For a more limited experience, an Evening Event Pass is $900 per person and gets 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

$2,529 for one person and $3,729 for two people.


Is It Worth It Though?

The Family Reunion is a luxury experience. It's held at a Black-owned luxury resort.

At the festival, alcohol is flowing, you could test drive Lexus vehicles in previous years, there is ample food to try from top chefs, the evening parties are lit (in 2023, Juvenile performed!), and you can even go on an archery or ziplining adventure if you want to.


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. In general, once you're into an event, you won't take out your wallet except for a bit of cash to tip service staff. Though, of course, guests staying on the property 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" given the price tag, the crowd of happy Black folks at each 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.


Anela with pitmaster Rodney Scott at The Family Reunion in 2021

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 isn'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 does 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.


A small appetizer sized plate with Black eyed pea hummus spread and a lamb topping on top, one of the dishes passed around at The Family Reunion at The Salamander Hotel in VA
One of many delicious plates at The Family Reunion in 2021

What About The Food Though?

Meals at The Family Reunion showcase the work of a variety of incredibly talented Black culinarians.


In 2021, meals and bites were prepared by folks like Vallery Lomas of Foodie in New York and pitmaster Rodney Scott.


2022 talent included Angel Barreto, named one of the best new chefs in the US in 2021 by Food & Wine and James Beard Award Winner Erick Williams.




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.


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19 Comments


I’d like to know more about the wine scene. Which wineries are represented?

Sandra@discoverSustainableWine.com

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So excited!!! 3rd Year Salamander Resort / Kwame Onwuachi Family Reunion August 15-18, 2024, in my hometown of Middleburg Virginia. Martha's Vineyards style (Inkwell) has landed in my backyard. The Annual Black Food & Wine Festival / All Access Pass / Black Excellent You Got to Love it!!!

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Love this comprehensive review. I would love to attend...just signed up on the Salamander website to get info. Sounds like a real vibe.

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Olá, ótima solução! Se quiser começar com o melhor, recomendo que dê uma olhada no Parimatch. Esse cassino oferece ótimas condições e bônus de até 500 reais ao se cadastrar br parimatch Tente a sorte e divirta-se jogando em um dos melhores cassinos on-line!


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Guest
Mar 04, 2023

Hi—can you advise on how late the afterglow events go on Friday and Saturday night? We’re thinking of booking the DC package and the transport leaves the Salamander at 10pm. We don’t want to miss anything! Thank you!

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