One difference is a stronger focus on culture.
“We’re trying to make it feel a little bit more Jewish,” event co-chair Sarah Thalheimer said. “Part of that is saying, ‘Let’s have a booth just dedicated to Israel.’ There’s going to be a big map. It’ll be very interactive, talking about the land and different major cities and landmarks there.”
Physical attractions related to Israel will include a replica Western Wall, where people can place notes they write; a petting zoo; and a Masada-themed rock-climbing wall.
Another goal is to bring in more and more varied entertainment.
“There’s more live entertainment this year,” Thalheimer said. “We have a couple of DJs — one Israeli DJ who’s going to bring in an Israeli drummer. We have a couple singer-songwriters as well as a couple bands that are a little bit bigger.”
The live music acts range from Dixieland to Americana to classic rock. The Day 2 headliner is Peyton Parker, a Nashville-based singer from Kennesaw who was a finalist on the NBC show “The Voice.”
New partners also are a big part of Noshfest.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta will be there with representatives from PJ Library and the ALEF Fund, Thalheimer said. “We’ll have Habitat for Humanity and their interfaith coalition, the Sunshine School, and Temple Beth Tikvah.”
Last year featured an expansion of the festival’s live events, and popular demonstrations such as cooking and krav maga are returning.
Still, the nosh in Noshfest remains the star. Thalheimer said that even though the Labor Day weekend festival had more food vendors than ever last year, attendees still provided feedback that there wasn’t enough food.
“Part of that was just that it wasn’t very visible,” she said. “This year we’re expanding that a little bit, spreading the food out and interspersing a little bit between some of the vendors, and we’re going to have bigger signage and a menu printed that people can get when they come in and that shows all the vendors and all the food and a schedule of the events.”
Noshfest is adding a kugel cook-off, in which people from the community can put their recipes to the test in the hope of winning bragging rights and a $150 prize.
The kugel contest will whet appetites for the second annual bagel eating contest.
“I don’t believe anything is really changing. We’re keeping the same rules: It’s five minutes, eat as many bagels as you can,” Thalheimer said. “They’ll all be plain, and all you get is water.”
The winner gets $500 cash.
Entry to the contest is $20, but you get a $20 gift card to Bagelicious. Teddy Delacruz is the reigning champion.
Noshfest takes place Sunday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 1415 Old Canton Road in East Cobb. Admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring two canned goods to donate to MUST Ministries.