Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta food and wine festival is back with a few changes

Gené Hunter
Image: Adventures in Atlanta

(ATLANTA, Ga.) The Atlanta Food and Wine Festival is back and in person this fall at Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event went virtual in 2020 but is back as a live event and will feature wine pop-up stations, a cocktail garden, interactive food and beverage pairing area and music.

In addition to the festival happenings, the event will also be offering four days of “intimate” multicourse brunches, lunches and dinners — including a collaboration dinner with Lazy Betty’s Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips; A Taste of España dinner at John Castellucci’s Cooks and Soldiers; and Sunday Supper at Deborah VanTrece’s Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours.

While there will still be many things for attendees to partake in, due to safety protocols and recommendations from the city and health officials, the festival has made a few changes to this year’s festival.

  • Currently, the festival has moved to a mask-recommended protocol for all tents and guests will be required to wear masks at all dinners unless they are eating or drinking.
  • Tasting tents will only be open during the day instead of the evening, unlike in past years. No exact reasoning has been given for this but it aligns with keeping guests as safe as possible while mingling at the festival.
  • Classes and live cooking seminars have been discontinued for this year’s festival but organizers do plan on bringing this programming back in 2022.

Brett Friedman, founder and CEO of Agency 21, management of the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival said, “We could not rationalize doing indoor programming. Putting people in a really small enclosed environment to do classes, not only did we not think it was safe for the talent, we didn’t think it was safe for the consumers. So we made the decision to pause those in 2021, but we will be returning them in 2022.”

In addition to the standard happenings, the festival is introducing a new charity this year in partnership with Second Helpings Atlanta to collect fresh surplus food to donate to local hunger relief agencies.

The festival is set to take place Sept. 9 through Sept. 12 and offers both VIP and General Admission tickets to the event.

“It’s not overly complicated what we do, right? We bring people outside to have great food, and great drinks, and have fun,” Friedman said, summing up the appeal of the long-running festival. “It’s about the experience. It’s about getting people back to some level of normalcy.

“As I say to everyone I speak to, it’s been a humbling time for all of us in the industry. We need people’s support. This is our livelihood. But there’s a passion element to putting on events. We care about them. And we care about the communities we do our events in.”

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