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Local food festivals to fill your cravings calendar

The Taste of Buffalo is the largest two-day food festival in the U.S., with more than 450,000 annual attendees. No wonder surrounding WNY towns have adopted the model, which features local restaurants and food vendors offering tasty morsels priced between $1 and $5.

If you can’t make it downtown this year for the big Taste event (July 7 and 8), you can still experience something similar on a smaller, more hyper-local scale at these festivals around the region.

May 26: Taste of Lewiston

Noon - 8 p.m.

What better reason (if you don’t live there) to make the trip to quaint, historic Lewiston than a food festival? Taste of Lewiston kicks off the summer on Memorial Day weekend — perfect for a Saturday drive. Go for the food, stay for the cute shops and scenic views of the Niagara River.

July 21: Taste of Hamburg/Burger Fest

11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

There’s a craft show, classic car show, kids’ inflatables and rides at this annual event that highlights the birth of the burger — and showcases the rest of Hamburg’s increasingly impressive culinary scene.

July 25: Taste of Orchard Park

5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

This one’s on a weeknight, which makes it a perfect dinner spot to hit after a busy work day. Vendors set up on N. Buffalo Road and Princeton Street for this kick-off to the town’s Quaker Days festival, which runs through the weekend.

August 6: Taste of Clarence

3 p.m. - 9 p.m.

This Monday night event, held in conjunction with a cruise night at the Clarence Town Park Pavilion, features more than 20 food vendors, a basket raffle and live entertainment.

August 11-12: Taste of Ellicottville

Noon - 4 p.m.

Cooking demonstrations, competitions and street performers punctuate this annual two-day event in Ellicottville, which features the town’s 20 diverse restaurants, set up café-style in the heart of the village. Stay overnight and add a hike or mountain bike excursion to burn off all those calories.

Sept. 8: Taste of East Aurora

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The cobblestoned section of Main Street opens to pedestrians only for a day of delicious meanderings, as 26 of EA’s increasingly diverse eateries — from Arriba Tortilla to Yoshi Sushi Bar — offer up their dishes.

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