Residents can give back to the less fortunate this weekend while taking in a view of the Scioto Mile and trying local food and beverages.

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is preparing its first WinterFest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Bicentennial Park in downtown Columbus.

Admission is free.

"This is a way to invite everybody down, bring the community together and celebrate the season of giving," said Nancy Colvin, a recreation and parks spokeswoman.

The department has presented Empty Bowls, an international charity project focused on feeding the needy by selling basic meals in artisan-crafted bowls, for 20 years.

Wendy Frantz, the Empty Bowls coordinator for the recreation and parks department, said the program usually is held in autumn at more than a dozen sites through the city. Volunteers at the various locations make soup for the patrons.

Empty Bowls has raised $236,000 over the last 19 years, including $23,000 last year, Frantz said.

"I've had some great soups at different sites," she said.

Two soups -- chicken and dumpling and creamy tomato bisque -- made by the Milestone 229 restaurant will be served from the department's Strawberry Food Truck at WinterFest.

For $10, patrons can order a bowl of soup and keep the handcrafted bowls.

Other food-truck options at WinterFest will include the Paddy Wagon, the Cheesy Truck, Tortilla Street Food, Mixing Bowl Asian Grill, Pitabilities, Buckeye Donuts, Los Potosinos and Rolling Soul.

Columbus Brewing Co., Four String Brewing Co., Seventh Son Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing Co. will have seasonal beers for sale.

A portion of the proceeds from the afternoon's sales will go to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Local performers also will take the stage at WinterFest.

They include disc jockey RJD2, a Columbus native who will headline the Bicentennial Stage.

Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons and Doc Robinson round out the day's scheduled performances.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary