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Taste of Buffalo celebrates 35 years


Sat, Jul 7th 2018 10:35 am
Shown are images from the 2017 Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops. (All photos by Bill Wippert and provided by the Taste)
Shown are images from the 2017 Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops. (All photos by Bill Wippert and provided by the Taste)
Birthday highlights include 53 restaurants and food trucks, 'Cheers to 35 Years Kellerbier,' 'Iron Chef' Marc Forgione on the Culinary Stage, expanded footprint on Delaware Ave. past Chippewa to Johnson Park
There's going to be quite a birthday party in downtown Buffalo this weekend as the Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops celebrates 35 years with plenty of culinary delights, a special-edition celebratory craft brew, local wineries, live music, family-friendly entertainment and more. The nation's largest annual two-day food festival is set for 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
"The Taste turns 35 this summer and you're invited to help us celebrate! While the Taste has grown significantly since our first event in 1984, we have remained a summer staple, committed to showcasing the best food offerings Western New York has to offer," said Rich McDermott, 2018 Taste chair. "Join us and try a diverse range of foods from Italian and Polish dishes to traditional American barbecue, as well as cuisines like authentic Mexican, Burmese and Thai. With more than 200 different menu items, in addition to special offerings from national and local sponsors, there's something for everyone."
To mark the milestone, the Taste has grown! The festival footprint extends north on Delaware Avenue past Chippewa Street to Johnson Park. Find this year's new restaurants, food trucks, wineries and the Tops Markets stage, featuring live music throughout the weekend, in this expanded space.
New restaurants, food trucks, and wineries participating this year (or returning after a hiatus) include: A Gust of Sun Winery & Vineyard, Alex's Place, Carmine's, Dirty Bird Chicken N' Waffles, Niagara Café, Ru's Pierogi and Souped Up. The complete food and drink lineup, along with 2018 menu items, are at tasteofbuffalo.com.
In addition, the Taste's special-edition homebrew, "Cheers to 35 Years Kellerbier," will be on tap in every beer tent. The recipe for this German-style lager with a toasty malt backbone was created by local homebrewer Adam Akers, winner of the Taste's first homebrew competition. It was brewed on a larger scale by 12 Gates Brewing Company to be sold at the Taste. Craft beer from Flying Bison Brewing Company, 42 North Brewing Company and Resurgence Brewing Company will also be sold in the Hometown Beer Tent.
Tops Markets continues as the Taste's presenting sponsor. Presale food ticket vouchers are on sale now at the registers at participating Tops Markets. Plan ahead and take advantage of the Family Freebie. Now through July 8, buy a $50 presale food ticket voucher and get a coupon good for four free nonalcoholic beverages at the Taste. Presale food ticket vouchers are also sold in $10 certificates.
"At Tops Markets we take great pride in giving back to our community and what better way to do so than by being the presenting sponsor of this time-honored Western New York tradition," said John Persons, president and chief operating officer for Tops Friendly Markets. "Now in our 14th season in this role, we are proud to sponsor an event that brings together the very best food and beverages that Buffalo has to offer including delicious offerings by Tops as well. We are proud to donate the proceeds from this year's Tops tent to Goodwill Industries of WNY."
Pick up a festival guide at all Erie and Niagara County Tops locations. The guide contains a complete listing of restaurants, menu items and sponsor activities. One can also download the guide at tasteofbuffalo.com or pick up a copy at any Taste ticket tent.
Thanks to support from Fisher & Paykel and Artisan Kitchens and Baths, the Taste is upping the star power on its Culinary Stage with Marc Forgione, one of the Iron Chefs on Food Network's "Iron Chef America." The restaurateur and cookbook author will appear for a live cooking demonstration today at noon. Guests will be able to sample one of the finished dishes while supplies last. Forgione will also sign copies of his book, "Marc Forgione, Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef," which will be available for sale at the Culinary Stage.
Also appearing at 4 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday is chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia. Shola, as he's known in Philly, will share his approach to flavor-forward seasonal cooking with a cooking demonstration complete with samples for the audience.
The Taste relies on continued support from the City of Buffalo to put on a fun, safe and festive party for 450,000 food lovers in downtown Buffalo every year. Mayor Byron W. Brown stated, "I look forward to the Taste of Buffalo every year, and I'm pleased that our city is home to the largest two-day food festival in the country. This festival continues to grow in popularity and is one of Buffalo's fantastic summer signature events. I thank Tops for its 35 years of continued support, and helping to further improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors."
It's not a party without live entertainment! In between bites of food, so check out local bands on the Tops Stage inside the Taste's Big Beer Tent, in a new location on Delaware Avenue just past Chippewa. The AT&T DJ Music Stage located at Huron and Delaware features a weekend-long dance party, and the Hometown Beer Tent features live acoustic music all weekend in its new location at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square, across from the Statler,
At the Taste of Fun KidZone inside Niagara Square, Explore & More Children's Museum and Monkey See, Monkey Do are teaming up to offer food-themed make-and-take crafts and activities for kids, including appearances by Curious George. Pick up a scavenger hunt sheet at any ticket tent for an adventure that plays on the sweet side of the Taste, color at the giant mural, and enjoy free samples of delicious, healthy and fun Go Go Squeez.
National and local sponsors will offer samples, demonstrations and interactive activities.
Here's a taste of some of the sponsors:
•Tops Markets is bringing a whole store experience. Visit its main tent at Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square to enjoy a marinated shaved sirloin steak sandwich served on a Costanzo's roll, Tops Italian sausage with peppers and onions, marinated sirloin steak served over a bed of spring mix, corn on the cob, or a signature strawberry shortcake. To celebrate the Taste's 35th birthday, Tops is offering cupcakes, plus samples of Folger's new 1850 coffee, while it lasts. Spin the Tops wheel of prizes for a chance to win great prizes each day. All proceeds benefit Goodwill Industries of WNY.
Then walk into Niagara Square and visit the Tops Natural and Organic tent for free samples of natural and organic food items available at Tops. Play the "Pharmacy Plinko" game inside the Tops Pharmacy tent. At the Tops brand product tent, find free samples of many different products.
•AT&T, the official mobile sponsor for the Taste, offers a mobile display for a chance to win fun prizes, recharge phones, and experience virtual reality.
•New Era Cap Co. brings the "Shade Spaces" located throughout the festival so that one can get out of the sun, people watch and enjoy food comfortably at a cocktail table. Check out the New Era Cap Co. tent inside Niagara Square and pick some New Era merchandise. Also, be sure to visit its flagship store, at 160 Delaware Ave., for exclusive items.
•It's easy to eat healthy at the Taste. Every restaurant serves an Independent Health Foundation healthy option. It's a delicious menu item that is lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium, and is highlighted in the Taste festival guide. Be sure to get a free carrying tray while supplies last, from either of two Independent Health/Independent Health Foundation tents located by the Chippewa ticket tent and the Court Street ticket tent.
•Smithfield Foods is bringing a lineup of its retail and deli brands, including Smithfield, Eckrich, Healthy Ones, Nathan's Famous, Margherita and Krakus to sample at the Taste. Take a photo with the Smithfield No. 10 NASCAR race car in Niagara Square and visit Smithfield's "Get Grilling America Mobile Tour" for free Smithfield marinated fresh pork samples, giveaways and grilling tips.
•It's Cooper Cheese's 125th birthday and it's bringing the party to the Taste. Stop by the Cooper Cheese food truck for games, birthday giveaways and grilled cheese samples.
•Stop by and see Elmhurst Milked inside Niagara Square for icy cold free samples of all varieties of their locally made, plant-based beverages with all the nutrition of whole nuts from almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts.
•In partnership with the City of Buffalo, the Taste proudly recycles. Look for the green totes throughout the festival grounds and do your part.
In addition to the sponsors listed above, other 2018 Taste sponsors include: belVita, Buffalo Fire Department, Buffalo Police Department, GEICO, I Love NY, Lasik Vision Institute, Milk-Bone, New York State Troopers and NFTA-Metro.
Visit tasteofbuffalo.com to download a festival guide, review all of the Taste restaurants and menu items, and see the complete live music schedule, along with times for Culinary Stage and Taste of Fun KidZone events.
About Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is the nation's largest two-day food festival, attracting more than 450,000 people to Buffalo each year. The Taste is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 volunteers helping to put on the annual event. Each year, the Taste allocates funds to support the community through donations to local charities. In addition, the Taste partners with select nonprofits to staff ticket and beverage booths with volunteers in return for a donation.
The festival also offers five annual $1,000 scholarships to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree. To date, more than $500,000 has been donated back to the community thanks to purchases made by Taste festivalgoers. New this year, two additional one-time scholarships have been made possible thanks to Smithfield Foods and a generous Taste partner.
For more information, visit www.tasteofbuffalo.com, or visit the Taste on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Shown are images from the 2017 Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops. (All photos by Bill Wippert and provided by the Taste)

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