Tonawanda News


July 6, 2014

DUVALL: Taste of Buffalo sneaks up again

Tonawanda News — This time next week you can find me tromping somewhere up and down Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. I’ll be there with tens of thousands of my closest friends.

Regular readers probably recall by now I volunteer as part of the Taste of Buffalo, billed as the nation’s largest two-day food festival. I started out as a twenty-something grunt who carried heavy things from one place to another. After more than a decade under my belt I’m pleased to say I’ve graduated to assistant to the head grunt. My job duties still mostly include lugging heavy things around.

Volunteerism and civic pride are hardly unique qualities to find in people in Western New York. They’ll be on display here in the Twin Cities next week when Canal Fest kicks off. I don’t have anything to do with staging that event but it’s bound to be like pretty much every summer festival around here in that it exists because a group of dedicated individuals invest considerable time and care to make it happen.

Of course, where the Taste of Buffalo is concerned, there’s one thing that separates us from the rest of the pack — the food.

There will be a cover story in this week’s edition of Night and Day with the particulars but I can tell you there will be 60 of the best restaurants in the region serving up everything from the region’s favorite standards — a slice of cheese and pep, a Sahlens charbroiled dog — to culinary inventions that rival some of the best restaurants in cities 10 times ours in size.

Lots of people are confused when I say I volunteer at the Taste. They ask which restaurant I worked for and are confounded when I say “none of them.” The restaurant tents are staffed by the businesses themselves. Our role as Taste volunteers is to help stage the event itself. For me, that means working on the event’s communications committee and the logistics committee. I started out doing logistics, which entails everything from running water lines to hanging signs, hauling water barrels and even some minor construction projects. 

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