BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– “This is honestly my favorite festival of the year,” festival-goer James Walters told News 4.

The food. The people. The good times. Everything that Buffalo has missed about the Taste of Buffalo returned to the heart of the city this weekend.

“My favorite part is just seeing everyone come together,” said Luke Baecker, the 2022 Taste of Buffalo Chair. “It’s just about the community coming together.”

Over 40 vendors returned to the event, making it the biggest festival they’ve had since before the pandemic.

For restaurants like Carmine’s, which has been a part of the festival for almost 20 years, they’re excited to see what the weekend will bring back to Buffalo.

“We did it last year and it was probably half the size,” said Alex Jacobbi of Carmine’s. “We’re excited to have it back in full swing.”

From trying something new, like Fried PB&Js, to eating Buffalo favorites like Chiavetta’s chicken, the festival has something on the menu for everyone, including options that won’t break the diets of festival-goers.

“We have worked with all the restaurants and food trucks to create healthy options,” said Melanie Goehle of the Independent Health Foundation. “We have over 40 amazingly delicious items that are also nutritious for us.”

Organizers encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a meal with their neighbors, brining the community back together.

“We want everybody to come down. It’s beautiful weather,” said Luke Baecker. “Come down and support these great restaurants and just support our community.”

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.