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July/August 2011 Spree Insider

Summer was made for lovers of food, wine, and art. This July and August, Spree shares that love by sponsoring four promising events, both new and old.

Taste of Buffalo, July 9–10
America’s largest two-day food festival is back and ready to please. On July 9 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and July 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., a diverse crowd of people from all over New York state, Southern Ontario, and points beyond will line Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square to sample the wares of seven wineries and more than fifty restaurants. Need more incentive? There will also be three stages providing live music and other entertainment.

This year the Taste will feature, for the first time, a custom-designed Culinary Stage built by Artisan Kitchens & Baths, which will play host to thrilling cooking competitions organized by Feed Your Soul, provide all-weather seating, and serve as home base for audience giveaways. Saturday’s events will include “All Prepped Out,” a timed contest in which chefs will be judged on how quickly yet accurately they can slice and dice, and “Nickel City Chef, Battle: Taco,” as well as cooking demonstrations from winners of past festivals. Sunday on the Culinary Stage, watch for a competition between two of Buffalo’s best sous chefs going head-to-head to see who can complete the best dish featuring a locally sourced secret ingredient in under an hour; a healthy cooking demonstration; and “Nickel City Chef, Battle: Street Food.”

“I don’t know why people would waste their time being fans of celebrity chefs whose restaurants they’ll never eat in and whose hands they’ll never shake when we have tremendous talent, big personalities, and amazing eats supplied by WNY’s chefs,” says Christa Glennie Seychew, founder of Feed Your Soul (and Spree’s food editor). “These competitions promise to be as lively and entertaining as anything you’d see at a food and wine festival in a top city. Our audience will basically be experiencing the WNY Food Network—live.”

echo: Art Fair, July 9
On the same weekend, another must-attend will be taking place not far away in one of the city’s most historic and spectacular buildings. Spree is sponsoring “echo,” the highly anticipated new contemporary art fair, to be held in Buffalo’s Central Terminal (495 Paderewski Drive) on Saturday, July 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Organizers say the purpose of the event is to connect, in one centralized exhibit, first-time buyers and experienced art collectors with emerging artists and established galleries in Buffalo along with surrounding cities like Cleveland, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and New York.

The idea for the fair came to founder Frits Abell, a Buffalo native, when he attended a similar event in London last year. Abell says his response was, “Buffalo should have something like this: a fine art event where experienced and new collectors can purchase art and provide artists with another avenue to sell their work.” echo is a juried art fair, which means that artists and galleries must apply and be chosen by the Jury Committee. (Artists from as far as Moscow and Namibia have submitted works to be judged.) It is also different from other art fairs in its partnership with expats and local not-for-profits, such as Hallwalls, Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, and HandsOn Greater Buffalo.  

On display will be a wide variety of disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, print, video, and combined media; it is recommended to all artists and galleries that the work be priced below $3,000. Attendees of a VIP event can preview and purchase artwork on Thursday, July 8, from 6 to 8 p.m.; a dance party will be held in the Terminal after the Fair on July 9. Learn more at www.echoartfair.com.

Wines in the Wild, July 27
Later in the month, Spree will be sponsoring the Buffalo Zoo’s biggest annual fundraiser for the third time. Hosted by the ProZoo Board and the Women’s Board, Wines in the Wild will take place on July 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. This 21+ event is a night for adults to enjoy the zoo without needing to watch or worry about the kids. Presale tickets are $40, or $50 at the door. VIP tickets will also be sold at $100. All proceeds benefit the Zoo’s Adopt-An-Animal fund, which helps feed the Zoo’s many animals. (For more on Wines in the Wild, see p. 33.)

America’s Grape Country Wine Festival, August 13–14
If you aren’t too exhausted after all the action in July, head to the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk for the largest statewide wine festival in WNY. Created in 2008, America’s Grape Country Wine Festival—sponsored by Merritt Estate Winery—features dozens of wineries from across New York State, along with artisan food producers and handmade craft vendors.
A new addition this summer will be the feature concert on Sunday; this year’s headliners are Uncle Kracker and Sean Patrick McGraw. For more information, visit www.agcwinefestival.com.   


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