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2020 Taste of Buffalo Presented by Tops Goes Virtual

In response to COVID-19, 'at home' event will replace traditional festival to support local restaurants, wineries and FeedMore WNY

Mon, May 11th 2020 08:45 am

May 11, 2020, BUFFALO, N.Y. Together with Tops Friendly Markets, organizers of the 2020 Taste of Buffalo today announced plans for a virtual version of this summer's food festival. To ensure the health and safety of guests, the Taste board of directors made the decision to introduce Taste of Buffalo at Home, a virtual food festival. 

The 37th edition of the Taste, the nation's largest two-day food festival, will take place on July 11 and July 12 on the event's Facebook and Instagram channels. Taste of Buffalo at Home will embody the spirit of a live festival, bringing a fun, community-centric atmosphere into peoples’ homes with food, cooking demonstrations, live music, contests, games and more – all hosted online.

At the heart of Taste of Buffalo at Home will be the “Taste Takeout” initiative. More than half of the restaurants, food trucks, and wineries that were slated to participate in the original event will instead prepare special food and beverage deals available for takeout at their establishments beginning that weekend and continuing the following week while supplies last. A full list of participants, menu items and information on how to order will be released in the coming weeks.

"In Western New York and around the world, the restaurant industry has been devastated by our new reality as a result of COVID-19. When it became obvious that we wouldn't be together in person this summer, Connie Wendling of Sell-utions Inc, the Taste of Buffalo's promotional marketing and event agency of record, came to the board with an incredibly creative idea to reinvent our festival in a virtual format to support the restaurants we all love so much," said Erin Collins, 2020 Taste of Buffalo chair. "Taste of Buffalo at Home would not be possible without generous support from Tops Friendly Markets, and we are so grateful to have a partner that shares our love for food and community. We hope you'll join us this July – at home – as we come together to eat, drink and Taste!"

An interactive, virtual festival guide will feature the full menu of Taste Takeout offerings, which will be announced in June, plus a schedule of online events with information and links to all of the various happenings. Here are a few of the other exciting online experiences Taste fans can look forward to:

  •        Virtual Food Tickets to benefit FeedMore WNY
    Guests can purchase $5 sheets of virtual food tickets as a donation to FeedMore WNY.
  •       Interactive Cooking Demonstrations and Competitions
    Cook along with our chefs or just watch delicious summertime recipes being prepared. Buffalo’s own Singing Cops will compete from their own kitchens too.
  •        Tops Virtual Wheel of Prizes
    Spin the wheel to win prizes from your own computer or mobile device, just like you’re at the Tops tent.
  •       Live Music Presented by Tops
    Local musicians and bands will perform throughout the weekend, streaming live on the Taste Facebook page.
  •       Taste of Fun KidZone
    Explore and More Children’s Museum will host interactive activities that kids and families can create in their own homes.

"As a long-time sponsor of the Taste of Buffalo we wanted to continue the tradition of giving back to the communities we serve by supporting this event," said John Persons, president and chief operating officer for Tops Friendly Markets. "Now more than ever it is important for us to come together as a community to support one another, especially our local restaurants, wineries, and food trucks who have been impacted by COVID-19. At Tops, we applaud event organizers of the Taste for coming up with this innovative way to keep the event vibrant and engaging as all of us adapt to the new virtual event landscape that 2020 brings. We can’t wait to see everyone virtually July 11 and 12 as together we gather around our breakfast bars, backyard patio sets, and dinner tables to enjoy the best that Buffalo has to offer.”

The Taste of Buffalo also wishes to thank our partners in local government who have provided guidance during these difficult times, and whose support helps make the event possible.

“Every year the Taste of Buffalo showcases the delicious foods our city and region are known for, as well as shining a light on our many diverse restaurants. Going to a virtual format will continue the tradition of the Taste of Buffalo by making great foods available via take-out and food trucks," Mayor Byron W. Brown said. "The virtual and interactive food festival will allow the long tradition of the Taste of Buffalo to continue in a safe and innovative way."

About the Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops

The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is 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 annual event. Approximately $538,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities including five $1,000 scholarships awarded annually to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree. For more information, visit tasteofbuffalo.com, and find us @tasteofbuffalo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Tops Friendly Markets

Tops Markets, LLC is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 157 full-service supermarkets with five additional franchise stores and is the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York. As a leading grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania, and western Vermont, and with the support of 14,500 associates, our core mission is to help our communities flourish. We support programs that seek to eradicate hunger and disease; promote the education of our youth; and to ensure we reduce environmental waste and energy consumption while providing our customers with sustainably sourced, high quality products. For more information, visit www.topsmarkets.com.