Taste of Buffalo presented by TOPS offers "Fun by the Forkful" July 7 and 8
Bring your appetite to sample Western New York's food favorites
Buffalo, NY - Come one, come all and come hungry to the country's largest annual two-day food festival, Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops Markets, marking its 29th year of featuring local food and restaurant favorites. The event returns Saturday, July 7 from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 8 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. along Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. This year's Taste features 51 restaurants, four food trucks and seven wineries as well as a culinary stage, musical entertainment and plenty of special offerings from a host of national and local sponsors.
"The Taste has become one of the most anticipated summer events and final preparations are being made by approximately 1,000 volunteers who are ready to bring the best the region has to offer for the 29th year," said Chris Hitchcock, 2012 Taste chairman. "It's only natural for us to frequent the same restaurants and order the same dishes, whereas the Taste gives festivalgoers an opportunity to easily explore new restaurants and sample different dishes they would not ordinarily try. You won't walk away hungry!"
More than 200 food items, ranging from Asian to barbecue to Italian to sweet treats and everything in between, are available for sampling from 51 restaurants. Those restaurants participating in their inaugural Taste this year include: Buffalo Tap Room, Cabaret, Dehli Chaat Sweets and Restaurant, Dibella's, Francesca's, Friar's Table, Iris Restaurant, Mr. Bones, Manhattan's, The Original SoupMan and Romanello's. Also for the first time, four of Buffalo's succulent food trucks will be parked at the Taste: Lloyd's Taco Truck, The Roaming Buffalo, R&R BBQ Food Truck and The Cheesy Chick. Wine enthusiasts can sample a variety of vintages from Glenora Wine Cellars, Hazlitt Vineyards, Knapp Winery, Merritt Estate Winery, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, Spring Lake Winery and Woodbury Vineyards.
All food items at the Taste range in price from $1 to $4 in food tickets. Each restaurant also offers a taste-sized portion of a signature menu item for only $2 or 4 tickets. By purchasing $20 in food tickets, guests can get a "taste" at ten different restaurants!
"It is an honor for Tops to once again be the presenting sponsor of the largest two-day food festival in the U.S., held right here in our own backyard," said Frank Curci, Tops Markets' president and CEO. "Not only is the Taste of Buffalo a great opportunity to showcase new, signature food items but it's also about giving back to our neighbors and being a part of the Buffalo community. That's something we take great pride in."
Presale food ticket vouchers, available in $10 certificates, can be purchased right at the register at participating Tops Markets now through July 8. If purchased before June 23 using your Tops BonusPlusÒ or BonusCardÒ customers will be automatically entered to win the chance to be a Taste food judge. No purchase necessary to enter. The certificates are redeemable at any ticket booth during the Taste.
Stop by the Tops tent to enjoy Marinated All-Natural, Full-Circle Grilled Chicken Breast on a junior Kaiser roll or over greens with Newman's Own dressing or Marinated Grilled Shrimp and their signature Strawberry Shortcake. Spin the wheel for a chance to win great prizes and all proceeds benefit Kids Escaping Drugs. The Tops "Your Better Health Store" tent inside Niagara Square will offer free samples of natural and organic food products available at Tops, and pharmacists will be on hand helping you learn about $3.99 Generics. Sign up for the convenience of email notification and receive a free thank you gift, while supplies last. Roche will have demonstrations of the new ACCU-CHEK ® Nano Blood Glucose Monitoring product. Sign up to receive an invitation to a diabetes carb counting workshop offered by Independent Health Foundation this fall.
This year, the Taste is focusing on greener efforts, partnering with the City of Buffalo. Look for the City of Buffalo green recycling carts and recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
"For the 29th year the Taste is bringing families and visitors to downtown Buffalo for a weekend of food and fun at one of the Queen City's best summer festivals," said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. "In an effort to continue to expand and improve Buffalo's Green Cart Recycling Program, we are proud to partner with the Taste of Buffalo this year to offer festivalgoers the opportunity to recycle their water and pop bottles throughout the event, minimizing waste and maximizing recycling."
The Culinary Stage presented by Nickel City Chef and sponsored by Artisan Kitchens & Bath and Jack Daniels Sauces, is located in the New Era parking lot under a cool tent. Enjoy side-by-side, one-of-a-kind cooking competitions and demonstrations. Audience members will enjoy samples before each segment from Tops Markets and NuVal, Tops' nutritional scoring system, and Independent Health will present a Fresh & Healthy cooking demo. Audience members will be selected at random to help judge the competitions and the audience will receive pom poms to help root for their favorite chef!
Buffalo firefighters are also getting into the Culinary Stage action this year with the "Smokin' Hot Buffalo Firehouse Cook-off" on Saturday at 5 p.m. Firefighter Christian Cunningham of Ladder 2 will make his "Sexy shrimp scampi" and Firefighter Mike Chase of Truck 6 will make his "Jefferson Avenue pepper chicken pasta" each in thirty minutes before a live audience.
"The Buffalo Fire Department has been a strong supporter of the Taste, helping with event set-up and having a presence at the festival each year," said Garnell W. Whitfield Jr., commissioner of Fire, Buffalo Fire Department. "We're honored for the recognition the Taste is giving our firemen and women, both for their firehouse culinary skills and their charitable causes in the local community."
Limited-edition Buffalo Fire Department New Era Taste caps will be available for $20 at the New Era flagship store and at their satellite location inside Niagara Square. Net proceeds benefit City of Buffalo Fireman's Guardian Foundation.
Three of Buffalo's most well-known cultural attractions are marking 150th anniversaries this year and the Taste is helping to celebrate! Join the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society and Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Niagara Square as the three cultural institutions offer free kid-friendly activities throughout the weekend.
New this year is the Taste of Fun KidZone presented by Rolly Pollies. Enjoy an energetic and fun obstacle course that will test your child's balance, agility, hand eye coordination and more. Kids and their parents are also invited to participate in fitness activities and a community wide art project too! Right next door, visit Tops Markets Food Face Off where kids of all ages can join Tops for some free fun and games while learning about their NuVal Nutritional scoring system and healthy lifestyles. Kids can spin the NuVal wheel and compete in a variety of fun contests to win prizes. It's interactive fun that will have everyone up and moving at scheduled times throughout the weekend.
For those guests on Twitter, don't forget to tweet while you're at the event with hash tag #TOB12 to see your tweets in real time on the two big screens at the Taste presented by AT&T and to share with followers what you enjoyed most. Guests can also share their favorite part and dish of the Taste on the big screens in real time by texting to 31234.
Several national and local sponsors are offering a variety of activities and sampling throughout the two-day event, including:
· For the second year in a row, guests can text a vote for their favorite Taste item as part of AT&T's Fan Favorite Food Award. Item numbers and texting information will be available during the event in the Taste's festival guide and also on signage posted at every restaurant or guests can text VOTE to 345678. Standard text messaging rates apply. AT&T mobile concierge will also be walking the festival grounds with electronic tablets ready to help you find your favorite restaurant, food, the nearest restrooms or whatever you may need.
· AT&T is also partnering with The Boy Scouts. Come build your very own miniature race car and put it to the test, while having fun learning about the Boy Scouts of America.
· NISSAN NEXT Mobile Innovation Center features a selection of various Nissan models available for test drives, including a pool of the 2013 Nissan Altima and the 100% Electric Nissan LEAF. Event participants will be able to enter a sweepstakes to win a brand new 2013 Nissan Altima.
· Northtown Platinum Plus members get special privileges from Northtown Automotive at the Taste. Members can show their Platinum Plus key tag to get special access to the members' tent where there's seating and a free gift. And right next door, Bills fans can stop by to meet Billy Buffalo, the Buffalo Jills and Bills alumni, win prizes and get Bills ticket information at the Northtown Automotive-Buffalo Bills tent.
· GEICO is back and is bringing the GEICO gecko along with a ton of great prizes to win.
· TUMS brand ambassadors will be handing out TUMS Freshers samples all weekend. The biggest innovation for TUMS® in more than 80 years, NEW! TUMS Freshers provide fast heartburn relief and fresh breath.
· Marking its sixth year, the Taste is still the only food festival in the country that requires all participating restaurants to offer a healthy menu item as part of the Taste and Independent Health Foundation's "Healthy Options" program. These items are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Other Taste sponsors include: Coca-Cola, Ford Experience Tour, Furmano's, Hamburg Casino on the Fairgrounds, Jack Daniels Sauces, Labatt, Lipton Pure Leaf Tea, Nutella, New Era Cap Co., NYS Troopers and Oscar Mayer.
In addition to the food and special attractions, great live local music acts like Boys of Summer, Hit N Run, Joyryde & the Hit Man Horns, LeeRon Zydeco, Terry Buchwald and more will be presented on The Ford Stage at Delaware Avenue and Huron Street and the Tops Friendly Markets Stage at the south side of Niagara Square. Enjoy a DJ and karaoke at the Mohawk Street Labatt Blue Party Tent and a Pyramid Apricot Ale craft brew or play the bean bag toss game inside the Niagara Square Labatt Blue Party Tent. Enter to win a Labatt Light Lime green Camaro at the Niagara West beer tent.
The week before the festival, download the festival guide and restaurant map to plan your day at www.tasteofbuffalo.com. The festival guide also contains valuable coupons and some great offers and recipes! Guides are also available at the ticket booths.
The Taste is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 volunteers helping to put on the annual event. More than $250,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities including Compass House, Hospice, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Meals on Wheels of Western New York and National Kidney Foundation. In addition, five $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree.
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is the nation's largest two-day food festival, attracting more than 450,000 people to downtown Buffalo. Festival hours are Saturday, July 7 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 8 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. There is no admission fee and food prices range from $1.00 - $4.00. Tickets are sold in $5 increments. Cash, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at the event. For more information, visit www.tasteofbuffalo.com. Check out the Taste on Facebook and Twitter for event details and contests!