BUFFALO — If there’s one thing Western New Yorkers appreciate, it’s getting together to enjoy food. The foremost food festival in a summer full of reasons to congregate, the Taste of Buffalo, was unveiled Friday morning at a press conference attended by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who called it “one of the most anticipated events in Western New York.”
The 29th Taste of Buffalo will take place on Delaware Avenue, from Chippewa Street to Niagara Square, on July 7 and 8, offering small portions of the best work of 51 local restaurants, seven wineries from central New York and Niagara County, and, new this year, four food trucks that have begun to roam downtown Buffalo.
The press conference was held in the fresh fruit aisle of the Tops Market on Elmwood Avenue. Tops is the presenting sponsor of the event, which is expected to draw 450,000 visitors and 1,000 volunteer workers.
Brown pointed out that visitors “from around the country and Canada come to see and taste all that Buffalo has to offer,” and mentioned the spectacular architecture, including the newly renovated Statler City and the Avant Building, that surround the location.
The range of food available at the Taste of Buffalo will be as broad as the specialties of the area’s restaurants, dessert makers and specialty bakers, and will include sausage cacciatore and stuffed peppers from the Buffalo Tap Room and the famous foot-longs and sweet potato fries of Louie's Hot Dogs, both of Tonawanda. Lockport’s Spring Lake Winery and Niagara Landing Wine Cellars will offer samples as well.
Roaming ambassadors of a product called “Tums Freshers,” a combination heartburn remedy and breath freshener, will also be providing samples.
Chris Hitchcock, chairman of this year's Taste, said 2012 festivities will include a Kids Zone, and family-friendly activities in Niagara Square from three local cultural mainstays which, coincidentally, celebrate their 150th anniversaries this year: the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Two stages will be erected for non-stop presentations of music and entertainment, as will a “culinary stage” for cooking demonstrations and chef competitions, one called the “Smokin’ Hot Buffalo Firehouse Cook-Off” and featuring the kitchen handiwork of Buffalo firefighters.
Hitchcock called the event “the largest two-day food festival in the country.”
Tops CEO Frank Curci also presented prizes to the winner and runners-up of a Taste of Buffalo poster contest for high school art students. The work of Pauline Dziama of Williamsville, a pastel-colored representation of meals emerging from the tops of downtown Delaware Avenue’s buildings, will serve as the festival’s official poster.