Taste of Vienna food festival returns for first time in Covid era

The Taste of Vienna food festival, pictured from 2018, will return for 2022 (courtesy of Vienna Volunteer Fire Department)

Taste of Vienna is back.

After two consecutive cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual festival showcasing the town’s food scene will return for 2022 on April 30, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department confirmed on Tuesday (Feb. 22).

This will be the ninth iteration of the festival, which launched in April 2012 as a fundraiser for the 115-year-old volunteer fire department.

While it has paid, full-time firefighters and paramedics from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the VVFD owns and maintains its station and equipment, and volunteers provide supplemental staffing.

VVFD President Anthony Stancampiano says he originally proposed Taste of Vienna as a way to raise additional money for the department after seeing the concept take off in other cities and towns. He suggested that it take place in April as “an opportune time to relieve the cabin fever” that takes over during the winter.

“Over the years it grew to be a greater and greater success,” Stancampiano told FFXnow. “…It’s an event that brings the community together, supports our local restaurants, and raises money for the VVFD.”

The VVFD is currently seeking restaurants and other businesses to sign up as vendors or sponsors, along with local musicians interested in performing on the stage that will be set up in the department’s parking lot (400 Center Street South).

According to Stancampiano, Taste of Vienna typically features 20 to 30 restaurants and food trucks. It will also have face-painting, a children’s bounce house, and a beer and wine tent.

Organizers estimate that this year’s festival will attract anywhere from 5,000 to 9,000 attendees over the course of the nine-hour event, which will last from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We’re hoping this year’s festival will be one of the best yet, as we hope people feel safe at an outdoor event,” Stancampiano said.

The plan is to operate the event as normal without COVID-19 limitations, but organizers will continue monitoring the community’s Covid transmission rates, which have been declining since mid-January.

The Taste of Vienna Committee is also offering restaurants a discounted application fee and letting festival volunteers help man their booths, recognizing that the pandemic has affected the bottom line and staffing for many businesses.

“We want to have those restaurants who may still be struggling, who may otherwise participate, feel confident about partaking!” Stancampiano wrote by email.

The participating vendors and other updates will be posted to the Taste of Vienna website as well as its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.