The Columbia Food and Wine Festival, put on by Free Times in partnership with other local organizations, has been postponed due to COVID-19, becoming the latest in a long line of local events affected by the ongoing pandemic.
A press release details that the main festival, originally slated for April 26 is postponed to Aug. 23, with seven preceding satellite events now happening between Aug. 20 and 22. The kickoff dinner will be held in Five Points on the Thursday, with the festival proper taking place at the Hampton-Preston Mansion from noon to 4 p.m. the following Sunday.
Festival organizers are still determining exact dates for the various satellite events.
The festival is honoring all tickets previously purchased for the rescheduled dates, and will give full refunds to anyone who is unable to attend.
“The decision to reschedule this multi-day series of events was a difficult but necessary one,” Chase Heatherly, Free Times’ publisher, is quoted in the release. “Beyond following the advice of our elected officials, the Columbia Food and Wine Festival team wants to host this event at a time that makes the most sense for our chefs and restaurants, beverage providers, sponsors and partners. We will be able to host a food and wine festival that is fitting for our city’s blossoming hospitality industry once the immediate concerns around COVID-19 subside.”
The festival will now fall alongside the Free Times’ annual Best of Columbia party, celebrating the release of the paper’s annual readers poll. That event is scheduled for Aug. 19 at the South Carolina State Museum.
“We look forward to spending the better part of a week celebrating all the best restaurants, places, people and things that our community has to offer,” Heatherly says in the release. “That week will be full of local pride and celebration and we want to ensure that our hospitality partners are in a strong position to participate and celebrate with us.”
Food and Wine’s postponement follows similar moves by other big spring events in the Midlands — from St. Pat’s in Five Points to the Soda City Market to the Carolina Cup horse race in Camden.