The weeklong event was started in 2010 by Discover Roxbury, an organization that promotes Roxbury’s arts, culture, and economy.
Derek Lumpkins, Discover Roxbury’s executive director, said the event started with the goal of promoting small businesses, but also sought to “raise awareness of culinary and cultural aspects that are here in Roxbury.”
In the first years, only restaurants participated. Now Roxtoberfest includes restaurants, the Discover Roxbury’s Open Studios event, and three cultural events.
The event, which began Oct. 2, will run through Monday. Anyone who wears a Roxtoberfest T-shirt, whether bought this year or in previous years, can go into the 14 participating businesses and buy things at a discount.
In the first two years 120 shirts were sold at $20 a piece, Lumpkins said.
Discounts for those with the T-shirts range from $5 off the first $20 spent at Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta in Mission Hill to free admission at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists at 300 Walnut Ave. in Roxbury.
“We just wanted to make them more accessible to more people,” said Lumpkins.
An official at Haley House Bakery Café, which has been involved in the festival for all three years, said the organization was excited when it was approached.
“For us, it was an important step from our community here at the café becoming part of the larger community,” said Haley House Bakery Café’s Business and Marketing Director Bing Broderick.
Lumpkins said that the amount the event has boosted sales for participants varies from business to business. But Broderick said Haley House Bakery Café definitely has benefitted.
“I think it has helped bring people in who haven’t been to our café, but it’s also helped us to introduce our customers to some of the other hidden treasures of Roxbury,” said Broderick. The café will be offering a free giant chocolate chip cookie with the purchase of a sandwich or hot plate lunch with two sides.
This year’s participants also include: the Cupcakory food truck, Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen, Flann O’Briens, Lucy Ethiopian Café, Merengue, Star Fish, Wally’s Café, the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Historic Boston Inc.’s Tours of Eustis Burying Ground, Roxbury Open Studios, and Colonial Heritage Day at the Shirley- Eustis House.
For more information on the deals and discounts being offered please visit www.discoverroxbury.org.