Following a two-year hiatus, one of the Charleston area’s biggest culinary events is returning this fall with a cashless model and new venue.
Taste of Charleston, set for Sunday, Oct. 13, at Riverfront Park in North Charleston, is believed to be the first event area that will use RFID wristbands.
Instead of using cash or cards, attendees will pre-load points to the wristbands, which contain a tiny RFID, or radio frequency identification chip, to be redeemed for food and drinks. The wearable wristbands also grant attendees admission to the event in place of paper or paperless tickets.
After a 36-year run, the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association did not bring Taste of Charleston back in 2017 or 2018. The organization previously said it wanted to find a new format and venue for the event, long held at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant.
Events such as the SnowGlobe Music Festival in California have adopted RFID wristbands, which are supposed to decrease wait times and up an event’s cool factor.
Tickets to this year’s Taste of Charleston go on sale June 6 and will be available online at tasteofcharleston.com.
General admission costs $20 and includes RFID wristbands loaded with $10 in points. After purchasing a ticket, wristbands will be mailed to customers attendees before the festival. VIP tickets are available for $125.
In addition, a Taste of Charleston launch party is scheduled for Thursday, June 6 at the Cooper River Room in Mount Pleasant. Tickets cost $75.
The Restaurant Association canceled 2017’s Taste of Charleston because it wanted to bring in new members to represent a broader cross-section of Charleston’s food industry, The Post and Courier reported.
Attendees will be able to sample food from more than 40 Charleston restaurants, which will be broken into four categories representing geographical locations. The event will also include live music from The Battery Brass Bands and, for children 12 and younger, activities such as a Charleston Cultural Center and a STEAM kitchen area.
About 5,000 people attended the last Taste of Charleston in September 2016. Until three years prior, attendance was typically closer to 7,500.