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Savannah Food & Wine Festival canceled in 2021

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The organizers of the Savannah Food & Wine Festival have canceled this year’s event, according to a release.

The 2021 festival was expected to take place the week of Monday, November 8. Festival organizers say the City of Savannah’s policy against issuing permits for events accommodating more than 100 people prevented organizers from planning and selling advance tickets.

“The City of Savannah’s policy on not issuing special event permits for gatherings over 100 people makes it impossible to move forward with festival planning and ticket sales,” festival organizers said in a statement. “Early bird advance discount tickets were scheduled to go on sale in early May; the festival’s decision was based on a final planning deadline of May 15, 2021, to provide sufficient timing for moving forward or not. Savannah’s policies on special event permitting for groups of people over 100, have not changed.”

Full refunds will be made to 2020 ticket holders who opted to use last year’s unused tickets for the 2021 festival, according to the release. Ticket holders wishing to request a refund should contact the Tourism Leadership Council at 24 Drayton Street, Suite 630, Savannah, GA 31401; call 912-232-1223 or email at tlc@tourismleadershipcouncil.com.

Dates for the 2022 Savannah Food & Wine Festival have not been set.

The news of the festival came as a surprise to several across the city. Especially those who looked forward to this year after 2020 was canceled.

The Savannah Food and Wine Festival brings in thousands to Downtown in November. Organizers say they bring in close to 15,000 people with their cooking demos, tasting events and more.

Despite a better outlook against COVID-19, they say permitting in Savannah put them behind and they don’t have time to plan the event as needed.

Residents say they loved trying new restaurants and seeing the Hostess City show off during the yearly event.

They say they will miss the event this year again.

“I’m kind of disappointed that we haven’t been able to move on from that,” said Savannah residents Julia, Joy and Karen. “And I think by the time November rolls around things will be, should be better. So now things are doing pretty well so I’m vaccinated and ready to go.”

They say while this isn’t ideal they believe festivals will return to Savannah as it’s a staple for locals and tourist and they are hopeful the economic impact won’t be felt too much.

WTOC did reach out to the Tourism Leadership Council, but they were unable to speak on Monday.

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