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2020 Taste of Buffalo at Home, a virtual food festival, set for July 11 and 12
Together with Tops Friendly Markets, event replaces traditional festival to provide support for local restaurants, food trucks, wineries, and FeedMore WNY along with some online food fun
BUFFALO, NY — Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops Friendly Markets today announced more details for Taste of Buffalo at Home, a virtual food festival scheduled for July 11 and 12, 2020 in lieu of the traditional in-person event. Taste of Buffalo at Home will provide needed support for local restaurants while embodying the spirit of the live festival with cooking demonstrations, live music, and other food-related fun – all hosted online.
At the heart of Taste of Buffalo at Home is the Taste Takeout initiative. Tops and more than half of the restaurants, food trucks, and wineries that were slated to participate in the original event will instead prepare special food offerings available for takeout or at the store or restaurant (where available) on July 11 and 12, and continuing the following week while supplies last. Several restaurants will also offer a Labatt Blue or Coca-Cola special as part of their Taste Takeout meal the weekend of the “at Home” festival.
"COVID-19 has changed our world, but our passion for the things that make Western New York such a special place remains," said Erin Collins, 2020 Taste of Buffalo chair. "To keep the Taste of Buffalo tradition alive and provide much needed support for our local restaurant community, we had to re-imagine the Taste of Buffalo format. The restaurants remain at the heart of the event in addition to bringing a fun, community-centric atmosphere into people’s homes.”
An interactive virtual festival guide available now at tasteofbuffalo.com features a full menu of the Taste Takeout offerings from participating restaurants, food trucks, wineries, and Tops along with links to make it easy to order. To further support local restaurants, gift cards from some of the participating restaurants and wineries will also be sold at a discount throughout the weekend.
The Taste is grateful to have the continued support of Tops for this year’s virtual event.
“At Tops, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve,” said John Persons, president and chief operating officer for Tops. “We are proud to continue to serve as presenting sponsor of the Taste of Buffalo for the 17th year in a row. Even though this year’s event is being done virtually we are confident that Western New Yorkers will rally to help support our area businesses and FeedMore WNY.”
Giving back to the community has always been a significant part of the Taste’s mission. Throughout the event weekend, virtual food tickets will be sold online to benefit FeedMore WNY and support the organization’s ongoing hunger relief efforts.
Keeping the focus on food, the Taste is recreating a live festival favorite with the Virtual Culinary Stage. Chef Darian Bryan and other Buffalo area chefs will be live on the Taste’s Facebook and Instagram pages cooking and grilling summer dishes. Demos will take place on June 28, July 1 and throughout the Taste weekend on July 11 and 12. Guests will have the chance to sign up on the VIP list and get “ingredient boxes” that will include everything needed to cook along with Chef Darian. Other segments include Buffalo’s own Singing Cops making Moe’s famous shrimp and grits, an Arugula and Grilled Sweet Potato Salad presented by Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options, a delicious and easy Buffalo pork ribs dish from NY Pork Producers, and cooking lessons with kids.
Here are a few of the other fun virtual experiences Taste fans can look forward to:
· The Virtual Wheel of Prizes. Spin the virtual Taste of Buffalo Wheel of Prizes for FREE to win Taste restaurant gift cards, Tops gift cards and boxes filled with a variety of Tops BRAND product samples and other goodies. Guests can also make a donation to FeedMore WNY.
· The Virtual Selfie Booth. You can picture yourself at the Taste. Take a free selfie, add stickers and the hashtag #TasteofBuffaloatHome, and share it with friends.
· Live Music presented by Tops. A variety of local musicians and full bands will play live shows throughout the festival weekend.
· Coca-Cola Virtual DJ Dance Party. A highlight of the live festival, this year guests can join the party on Zoom compliments of Coca-Cola. Not a dancer? Watch the fun live on the Taste’s Facebook page.
· Taste of Fun KidZone. Explore and More Children’s Museum and Independent Health Foundation will provide fun, interactive activities for kids and families. Independent Health Foundation will give away kits to take part in the Make a Healthy Trail Mix activity and WNY Book Arts will host a DIY virtual origami workshop. Programming will take place throughout the festival weekend.
· Virtual Happy Hour. Another highlight of the live festival, the Taste recreates the fun with a virtual hangout and celebration of beer on July 11 from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Guests can invite their friends, grab their favorite beer and enjoy a happy hour, hosted by some of Buffalo’s best brewers, beer experts, and beer lovers (21+).
The complete schedule of experiences, including times for culinary demonstrations, live music and more, is available now at tasteofbuffalo.com.
"Even though we won't be physically gathering in Niagara Square for this year's Taste of Buffalo, much creativity and planning have gone into the virtual format to make sure the tradition is still delicious, entertaining, fun, and safe. The annual tradition of showcasing the many diverse restaurants and beverage makers from across the City of Buffalo and the region will continue through take-out, sample boxes and food truck options, and there will be several interactive options to bring festival goers of all ages together in the virtual world," Mayor Byron W. Brown, City of Buffalo said.
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.