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Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site looking for vendors for food festival

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A food festival at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in the summer will honor the legacy of Dolly Johnson. Johnson, a Black woman, was President Harrison’s White House chef during his only term and went on to open her own restaurant in Kentucky following her stint in the nation’s capital. In order to pull off the festival, though, the presidential site on the north side of Indianapolis is looking for a diverse group of vendors to apply.

Whitney Ball, events manager for the presidential site, said prospective vendors will get a stipend for participating — $300 in general or $500 if they recreate one of Johnson’s recipes. The June 17 festival is funded in part by Eli Lilly and Co., and workers at the presidential site hope it’s something that can be continued for years to come.

“A lot of people don’t know about [Johnson], so it’s a great way to honor her in that way,” Ball said. “With her working in the Harrison White House, we were able to kind of look at that relationship and realize how much of a businesswoman she was, and how she got to where she was is really impressive, and we want to share that with the community and uplift her while supporting up and coming and established businesses.”

To apply to be a vendor at the food festival, send a list of menu items to harrison@bhpsite.org.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848 or BreannaC@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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