Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
A magnificent paella by Magdalena's. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
The grand entry to the festival. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
A fanciful creation by Dough Boy Donuts. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
The coronavirus pandemic is still proving to be a major party-pooper. It’s putting the kibosh on most of Fort Worth’s favorite annual festivals and fundraisers.
With new hospitalizations still on the uptick in the state of Texas (the Texas Department of State Health Services reported that 2,056 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 Tuesday, which is up from the 1,935 hospitalizations just the day prior) ― there are still a lot of unknowns.
The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival had originally chosen to push back the date for its seventh annual festival. Organizers first rescheduled it from the first weekend in April to the weekend of October 22 to 25. But they are now pulling the plug on hosting Fort Worth’s vast smorgasbord and culinary showcase altogether for 2020 ― opting to cancel the festival and regroup for 2021 instead.
The decision was made by the board “due to uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year’s festival is planned for April 8-11, 2021,” according to a festival statement.
The health and safety of festival goers and vendors was top of mind, and the board simply felt it would be irresponsible to move forward this year, Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival director Julie Eastman tells PaperCity Fort Worth.
“In light of how hard-hit the restaurant community has been by all this, we were not going to ask anything from them this year,” Eastman says. “So we began looking for ways for the festival to give back and promote our local restaurants.”
Though no 2020 festival will take place, the foundation will continue to support the local culinary community through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which was launched by the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation in March.
The $100,000 fund was established to assist food service professionals who were impacted by closures. Over the past three months, nearly $90,000 has been distributed to deserving recipients, with additional funds being granted each week.
“The Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation is here to serve local food industry businesses and their employees who show up each day to forge ahead during these uncertain times,” says Russell Kirkpatrick, festival co-founder. “They’ve played an essential role in the growth of the festival and the advancement of our local culinary scene and we want them to know we have their backs.”
Without the ability to host a large-scale event in 2020, the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival will instead show appreciation for local restaurants by dedicating Oct. 19 to 25 to celebrating area food and beverage businesses. Specific details will be announced in early August. Visit FWFWF.com for updates — and stay tuned to PaperCity for more.