What a crazy month it’s been! From food events to traveling to St. Louis to see one of my best friends graduate and to NYC for a work trip, it’s certainly been a whirlwind. And, with Memorial Day weekend at a close and this pesky cold getting the best of me, I’m even more amped for Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, which starts tomorrow.
Atlanta Food and Wine Festival is, by far, one of our favorite food and wine festivals. Last year was our first time attending this event and we ate and drank to our hearts’ content over the course of the three-day weekend. The high-caliber cooking, wine and cocktail classes, the array of bites and libations in the Tasting Tents and the knowledge that mixologists, sommeliers and chefs impart on guests make this event one of the best celebrations of the South. Whether you’re attending events every day or just partaking in a Tasting Tent, here are a few suggestions on how to prepare for Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.
1) Make sure you’re on time for everything.
Whether you’re taking a class at the Festival or if you’re just headed to the Tasting Tents, being tardy for the party is not an option. With the exception of the Connoisseur classes, most classes are fair game for Festival attendees with day passes, and you risk losing out on a seat if you’re late or if you show up seconds before the class starts. Luckily, they will have red, yellow and green signs outside of the classrooms, indicating seat availability! You also have the option of reserving your seat beforehand.
If you arrive to the Tasting Tents late, you may miss out on some great goodies like the lanyard that hold your wine glass around your neck (so handy!) or food from select vendors. Trust me on this guys: make sure you get to all of the events you’re scheduled to go to on time.
2) Pace yourself!
There’s an abundance of food and drinks everywhere you turn. For the average Festival attendee, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. But if you don’t want to be the one barfing outside the candy store, we suggest drinking water after you imbibe an alcoholic beverage. Feel free to share wine flights and food tastings, and remember, the food is not going anywhere (unless you didn’t read tip #1).
3) Call an Uber, take MARTA or have a designated driver.
Don’t let the name fool you. The amount of beer and spirits at this festival is insane. Whether you’re OTP or ITP, just be smart and have a sober designated driver, take a cab or use MARTA (there’s a station conveniently located two blocks from the Festival).
4) Download the AFWF app to help you navigate the Festival.
The AFWF app is a handy guide and includes class schedules, titles and information on where you’re supposed to be and when. It was useful to reference when I didn’t want to lug around my program book!
5) Recharge in the Social Media Lounge.
If your phone dies just as much as mine does (boo planned obsolescence!), then use the Social Media Lounge to your advantage! Grab a seat, some snacks and a space to charge your phone so you can continue to Tweet or Instagram your heart out.
6) Check the forecast; this is a rain or shine event.
Thunderstorms dampened our Friday night Tasting Tent experience last year. Please note this is a rain or shine event, so look at the weather before you head out and be prepared for whatever it may be!
7) Enhance your experience with a special dinner.
During the weekend, local and visiting chefs host dinners around the city for attendees to showcase their local cuisine or specialities. Though each dinner has its own vibe, these events are typically more intimate and allow for a more unique experience of the festival. For instance, Rathbun’s Watch List is a fun Saturday night party where you can experience up-and-coming culinary and design talent all in one place.
We had the most memorable time last year at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and expect this year to be no different! Are you headed to Atlanta Food and Wine Festival this weekend? Let us know; we’ll be there too!