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Taste Washington Will Focus on Takeout and Socially Distanced Activities for 2021

The big March food and wine event will continue in a modified form after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic

A glass of red wine sits near a grill where someone is cooking a variety of meats
Taste Washington is one of the year’s biggest wine events locally.
Washington State Wine Commission

A year after it needed to abruptly cancel due to the pandemic, Seattle’s longtime marquee wine and food event Taste Washington is returning in a modified form. According to an announcement from co-organizers Visit Seattle, this year’s festivities in March will focus on mostly takeout options and other remote, stay-home activities, rather than in-person events. More specifics on what those activities will look like will be revealed on February 8.

The decision makes sense, of course, considering that most restaurants and bars, at the moment, continue to be closed, with a few exceptions for outdoor and “open air” dining, and tourism still remains nearly non-existent downtown. Even if COVID cases trend down significantly by March and vaccinations ramp up to higher levels, a large festival that typically draws thousands of people just doesn’t seem viable or safe at all as originally conceived.

This is the second year in a row that Taste Washington has had to make drastic adjustments. In 2020, the minds behind the popular Feast Portland festival had intended to revamp the culinary aspect of the two-decade-old event, with more parties, dinners, and collaborations. Among the chefs who planned to take part at the time were Edouardo Jordan, Rachel Yang, and Ethan Stowell. But those plans were scuttled once COVID fully impacted the region in early March, and Taste Washington became one of the first major events to cancel in 2020.

CenturyLink Field was originally supposed to host a grand tasting last year, and there were other ticketed seminars and meals planned. But in 2021, expectations are much mellower, even as hopes remain to give a boost to the struggling local hospitality industry. “This year, we are focused on finding new ways to highlight everything that makes our state so delicious while letting safety lead the way,” said Visit Seattle senior vice president and CMO Ali Daniels in a statement.