Highlights include record 62 restaurants and food trucks, healthy eating competition
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops Markets, celebrates 33 years of showcasing culinary delights from all over Western New York this summer. The country's largest annual two-day food festival, which draws approximately 450,0000 hungry food lovers each year, returns to Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 9, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10.
The Taste of Buffalo includes live music on the Tops Stage at the Niagara East Beer Tent until 11 p.m. on Saturday. This year's Taste of Buffalo also offers a record-breaking 62 restaurants and food trucks, six New York wineries, Coca-Cola products, Labatt Beer throughout the festival, and the new "Hometown Beer Tent" featuring brews from Flying Bison, Big Ditch, Resurgence and Labatt.
"Each year, the Taste highlights the incredibly diverse food scene that has emerged across Western New York," said Jen Mitri, 2016 event chairwoman. "This year is no exception with a record 62 eateries offering more than 250 items to sample. Combined with a host of offerings from both national and local sponsors, and great entertainment for the whole family, it looks to be another great weekend of fun by the forkful at the 2016 Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops."
New restaurants and food trucks participating this year include Baked Cupcakery, Chiavetta's, Curly's Grille, Deep South Taco, The Flaming Fish food truck, Giacobbi's Cucina Citta, Go Veggies Café, Gypsy Parlor, India Gate, Mandarin Garden, Mineo & Sapio Street Eats food truck, Pizza Amore "The Wood Fired Way," Stack Burger and Venus. Participating wineries include Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Merritt Estate Winery, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, Spring Lake Winery, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates and The Winery at Marjim Manor.
The complete list of restaurants and food trucks, along with 2016 menu items, is now available at tasteofbuffalo.com.
Tops continues as the Taste's presenting sponsor. Plan ahead and take advantage of the "Family Freebie." Now through July 10, buy a $50 presale food ticket voucher at any participating Tops Markets and get four free nonalcoholic beverages when you redeem it for tickets at any Taste of Buffalo ticket tent. Presale food ticket vouchers are also sold in $10 certificates and are on sale at the register at participating Tops Markets.
"The Taste of Buffalo has become a western New York tradition, and Tops is proud to be a part of the excitement surrounding the event," said Frank Curci, chairman and CEO of Tops Markets.
Pick up a festival guide before the Taste of Buffalo at all Erie and Niagara County Tops locations in July. The guide contains a complete listing of restaurants, menu items, sponsors' activities and the event map. It's also free to download at tasteofbuffalo.com and available at the Taste of Buffalo ticket tents.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Taste of Buffalo's participation in the "Healthy Options" program, which requires all participating restaurants to offer a healthy menu item, Independent Health Foundation is bringing the world's first kale eating competition to the Taste of Buffalo. Watch professional eaters consume massive quantities of raw kale at 2 p.m. Saturday on the steps of City Hall. Independent Health Foundation is also providing free trays to help festivalgoers easily carry and enjoy their food. Pick one up, while they last, at the tent located on the inner ring of Niagara Square near Court Street.
Catch Florida slide guitar player Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton as he plays the blues and cooks gumbo in the Taste Saturday's Culinary Stage both Saturday and Sunday. It's a soul-shouting picnic of rock 'n' roll - and everyone gets some gumbo at the end of the show. In addition, get up close and personal with the finest chefs, artisans and mixologists in Buffalo as you watch cooking demos and competitions, and enjoy free samples at the Culinary Stage all weekend long. Check out tasteofbuffalo.com for complete demonstration schedule.
The Niagara East Beer Tent is open until 11 p.m. on Saturday and features live music on the Tops stage by Buffalo bands throughout the weekend, including 22 Calibre, Ultraviolet, More Than Me, Katie Mallaber and the Krash Party, The Doyle Brothers and Hit n Run. A complete schedule is available at tasteofbuffalo.com. The AT&T DJ Music Stage, located on Huron and Delaware, is a weekend-long dance party with Buffalo DJ Spooky Stephen and special guests. The new "Hometown Beer Tent" will feature Acoustified Duo at 2 p.m.
In partnership with the City of Buffalo, the Taste of Buffalo is also proud to offer recycling stations throughout the event. "Recycling Rangers" will be present to help guests place items in the right bins and learn more about the City of Buffalo's recycling programs on Saturday.
For the first time, restaurants and festivalgoers can also recycle their food waste. The Taste of Buffalo has partnered with Natural Upcycling, Western New York's premier food scraps/organics recycling collection company. Each recycling station at the event will have an orange Natural Upcycling tote for guests to place their food scraps in, and every Taste of Buffalo restaurant will recycle food scraps all weekend long. Natural Upcycling will utilize this food waste to create renewable energy through the biological process of anaerobic digestion at its farm-based digester in Pavilion.
"The Taste of Buffalo is about a weekend of food, but it's also about the culture of Buffalo," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. "Thousands of people will come to our city and taste great food, hear a diverse array of music from our city's talented musicians, see historic buildings that are newly renovated, as well as improved streets and streetscapes that enhance the quality of our neighborhoods citywide. Buffalo's great festivals, including the Taste of Buffalo, have a way of lifting up our community and creating permanent benefits economically for our residents. We are proud to partner with the Taste of Buffalo on one of our city's best summer festivals."
National and local sponsors will offer samples, demonstrations and interactive activities throughout the two-day event, including:
•Visit all four of the Tops Markets tents this year. Start with the big tent located at Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square to enjoy the burger bar, pork sausage with peppers and onions, steamed clams, corn on the cob or signature strawberry shortcake. Spin the wheel for a chance to win prizes each day with all donation proceeds benefiting People Inc. Visit the Tops Pharmacy tent, the Tops Natural/Organic tent and the new Tops Brand product tent to try samples all weekend long.
•AT&T is the official mobile sponsor for the Taste of Buffalo. Visit the AT&T van inside Niagara Square to experience virtual reality and charge a phone. Stop at any of the three AT&T photo spots and have your picture taken to be a part of the giant digital photo mosaic.
•New Era Capoffers "Shade Spaces" located throughout the festival so guests can get out of the sun, people watch and enjoy food comfortably at a cocktail table.
•Visit the Taste of Fun KidZone, presented by Rolly Pollies, inside Niagara Square for plenty of activities for kids of all ages (open until 6 p.m. both days). Enjoy the Rolly Pollies obstacle course, make-and-take projects from Stutelage Innovations, free samples and a giant coloring mural. Have your picture taken with some princesses and enjoy face painters and balloon artists.
•ADPRO Sportswill have an on-site store selling official Taste of Buffalo apparel, along with One Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills apparel.
•The Ford Experience Tour and the Ford Ride & Drive. Stop by the Ford display in Niagara Square on West Eagle and register for your chance to win a Ford vehicle of your choice, valued up to $30,000, as well as other prizes, including a customized t-shirt. Plus, test-drive a Ford vehicle to receive $5 in free Taste of Buffalo food tickets.
•Stop by the Martin's Famous Potato Rolls tent and sample soft, sweet "Party Potato Rolls." Spin the prize wheel and win free stuff.
Check out tasteofbuffalo.com for a complete listing of Taste of Buffalo restaurants and menu items, as well as an event map and entertainment schedule.
Festival hours are from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday, July 9, with the lawn-fete style beer tent in Niagara Square open until 11 p.m.; and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10. There is no admission fee. Food prices range from $2-4. Cash, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at the event. For more information, visit www.tasteofbuffalo.com.
The not-for-profit Taste of Buffalo has over 1,000 volunteers. More than $315,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities. In addition, five $1,000 scholarships are presented annually to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree.