The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops on Thursday announced it has received all necessary approvals from local and state agencies to hold an in-person festival on July 10-11 that accommodates expected COVID-19 health protocols in place at that time.
In order to meet restrictions on capacity and hygiene, the Taste of Buffalo will implement a series of changes that will be in effect for one year only. To control crowd size, the Taste of Buffalo will not be allowed to have free general admission to the public. Instead, the event will be divided into timed sessions throughout the weekend and guests will be required to purchase an admission ticket online prior to the festival for one of the sessions.
Before being allowed into the festival, guests will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours. Face coverings must be worn except when guests are eating or drinking, and the layout of tents in Niagara Square and Delaware Avenue will be altered to allow for increased social distancing.
Taste of Buffalo Chairwoman Amber Hartman thanked the local and state officials who worked collaboratively to help make the in-person event a reality. Specifically, Hartman thanked Jennifer Delaney and the staff of the environmental health division of the Erie County Department of Health; and Connie Wendling of Sell-utions, who worked on behalf of the Taste to draft the festival’s COVID-19 health and safety plan.
Hartman said, “Our board has spent months working to host one of the first true in-person festivals anywhere in New York state since the pandemic began, and to do so in a safe manner. We are grateful to Connie, Jennifer and our many other partners in local and state government who worked with us every step of the way to make this possible. We couldn’t be happier to say the Taste of Buffalo is a go for 2021!”
Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein, who approved the festival’s COVID-19 health and safety plan this week, thanked the Taste of Buffalo for its diligence in planning this year’s event.
“The return of the Taste of Buffalo event is one more sign that our community is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We appreciate the care and attention that the Taste directors dedicated to the health considerations for this event. Our department is available to work with other organizations planning larger-scale events this summer, to ensure they meet New York state guidelines.”
The Taste of Buffalo is still finalizing details on how ticketing and admission will work and will share all the relevant information with the public in the coming weeks.
2021 marks the 38th annual version of the nation's largest two-day food festival. The Taste is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 volunteers helping to put on the event. Approximately $541,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities, including three scholarships awarded last year to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree.
For more information, visit tasteofbuffalo.com or @tasteofbuffalo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.