Each Friday from 4.30 to 9pm, Franklin Square comes alive for Street Eats @ Franklin, a truly unique fusion of ‘flavours, textures, people and place’, showcasing Tasmanian produce and talent. The event, literally located in the centre of the CBD, attracts large crowds of both locals and visitors. The feeling of community is palpable as youth, adults, and families alike gather together on picnic blankets, enjoying exclusively Tasmanian food and quality music as the sun sets over Hobart.
Madi Seeber, – owner of Street Eats @ Franko, UTAS graduate, and general ‘dog’s body’ – takes great pride in ensuring the markets showcases Tasmanian produce and talent. “A core principle of the markets is that every core ingredient used within all dishes must be Tasmanian. The beverages that we sell are not mass produced; it’s all craft beer and cider, cold climate wines, and Tasmanian distilleries.”
When asked about the entertainment at Street Eats, Madi replies, “each week we are fortunate to work with extremely talented local musicians. We invest a not-insignificant-amount into entertainment, ensuring that it mirrors the quality found in our food and beverage producers.”
Street Eats @ Franko made its debut in late 2016, following the redevelopment of Franklin Square. “The location for Street Eats was a no brainer,” explains Madi, “my aim has always been to invigorate our city centre, and to bring the community together to celebrate it.” As the redevelopments were coming to a close, Madi approached the Hobart City Council with the proposal for Street Eats, which was unanimously passed. “The event is magical, with the fountain as the centre-piece, the lawns looking down onto the stage a natural amphitheatre and plenty of space in the ‘cabbage patch’, near the Treasury building for families,” states Madi. “I sometimes stop for a minute and look around and listen. It’s at this moment that I realise we have created something you could never envisage. The intangible energy that is community. Everyone, local or visitor, is so happy.”
All the producers at Street Eats are local small business owners, handpicked for the excellence of their produce. “These producers have a skill set that I could only dream about. All applications are based on merit – it’s not first in best dressed,” explains Madi. All the producers’ menus are exclusive to Street Eats and proudly use quality Tasmanian ingredients. Street Eats @ Franko is a zero-waste event, which was a key goal of Madi’s from Street Eats inception. All over the counter packaging is either compostable – 90% – or recyclable – 10%.
Madi genuinely believes Street Eats is unique Hobartian experience. “The connection between produce, people and place is essential in the overall emotional experience that an event should be for its customers. For locals, it actualises itself in the pride that we feel in our state, our people, and the exceptional produce or products that we produce and that they experience every Friday night, for visitors, it’s about immersing themselves in our local culture and providing them with a true Tasmanian experience.”
I found the Street Eats market to be a genuine expression of Hobart community; I sat with a friend on a large picnic blanket surrounded by families, tourists, and locals alike, cheering and clapping as the musician performed on stage, and the sun set over the CBD. We became so immersed in all the curious and exciting things to see, taste, do, and take in, that time flew by without us noticing. The markets are a truly memorable experience, showcasing the best our island state has to offer in a delightfully local setting.