The 2014 Missouri Food and Wine Festival kicks off today

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COLUMBIA - Food and wine enthusiasts will make their way to Columbia Monday for the start of the seventh annual Missouri Food and Wine Festival.

The festival will kick off with a Missouri Farm-To-Table dinner at the Blue Bell Farm near Fayette.

At the dinner, chefs will create a seven-course meal featuring fresh Missouri vegetables, meats, and herbs. Each of the courses will be paired with an award-winning Missouri wine.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said festivals like this help bring people to Columbia.

"Festivals are one of those big things that we promote because we know that if we can get someone in for a festival, that they're probably going to come back because they fall in love with Columbia," Megan McConachie said.

McConachie said events like this also benefit the city as a whole.

"While those people are here, they're spending money in our restaurants, they're shopping, they're filling their cars with gas, they're staying in our hotels," McConachie said. "That influx of people who come here for those festivals really make a big impact on our city during that short amount of time."

She also said the hope with festivals, like the Missouri Food and Wine Festival, is that it will make visitors come to Columbia more than once.

"We want people to come in, see how amazing these festivals are, and then come to Columbia over and over again," McConachie said.

Events for the festival will last all week.