Episode 29

Growing a Food Festival with Hayden Walker, Austin Food Magazine (Podcast)


In this episode we talk to Hayden Walker, the organizer of the highly successful Mac and Cheese Festival held in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon.

Hayden is the Executive Director at AFM Media and Editor in Chief of Austin Food Magazine, with his finger on the pulse of all things foodie in Austin.

Hayden created Austin’s Mac and Cheese Festival which became a huge sell out success, enjoyed and embraced by attendees and vendors. Now in its 4th year in Austin and 2nd year in Portland, the Mac and Cheese Festival has a winning event recipe that is set to grow and take on more cities in 2020.

Available on iTunes or Spotify

Key Topics

  • Turning something you love into a career
  • Creating the Mac and Cheese Festival experience
  • Research and inspiration
  • Evolving a food festival, growing in size and locations
  • Managing event stakeholder relationships
  • Testing event formats and target audiences
  • Ticket pricing and event promotion
  • Benefits of prepaid events
  • Preparing vendors for success
  • Event day gate management


Portland Mac & Cheese Festival Sunday October 27, at Castaway Portland. 

Austin Mac & Cheese FestivalSunday November 10, at Carson Creek Ranch.

Interviewee Information

Hayden Walker

Founder and creator of the Austin Mac & Cheese Festival, which hosts over 1300 attendees and over 25 chefs, eateries and vendors in a food festival style environment. Executive Director at AFM Media and Editor in Chief of Austin Food Magazine. Managing a talented team of contributing writers, photographers, and social media influencers to produce a weekly digital publication/blog presenting Austin's vibrant culinary scene. www.austinfoodmagazine.com

To collaborate on a podcast please get in touch.