Three culinary events associated with the Williamsburg Taste Festival have been canceled.
The Yorktown River Crawl, the “Dock to Dish” Dinner, and the Sunday Brunch have been canceled because of low ticket sales, said Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance President Karen Riordan.
Riordan said ticket sales for the events were not enough to justify the costs to the restaurants. She added that all customers who had purchased tickets have been refunded.
“We tried to do a lot in four days,” Riordan said. “What I’m taking away isn’t necessarily price point or they didn’t like the menu, it’s that we might have overwhelmed people” with the number of events.
The Williamsburg Taste Festival still has 10 events scheduled across Greater Williamsburg across the weekend, beginning at 5:30 p.m.Thursday with the culinary arts kickoff.
The aim of the festival is to support local farmers, chefs and businesses and showcase the area’s culinary and brewery offerings.
The River Crawl also was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday. Three Yorktown restaurants – Carrot Tree Kitchen, Water Street Grille and Umi Sushi – were partnering to showcase the best food Riverwalk Landing has to offer.
Saturday’s Dock to Dish Dinner at Riverwalk Landing would have featured a special seafood menu.
The Sunday Brunch was “logistically a nightmare,” Riordan said, with five area chefs gathering outside under the festival tent to each cook a course of a buffet-style meal. The amount of equipment needed to facilitate the event was simply too much to do outside, but she said it may be tried again as a stand-alone event inside.
In the end, Riordan said she thinks the three canceled events lost out to other events within the festival.
“We put too many on the weekend because if you are buying a ticket to culinary village and you’re eating lunch there, the likelihood you’re also going to buy a ticket to dinner right after that is not very good,” Riordan said, adding, “We got a little too ambitious.”
She said that was part of the learning process for the organizers of the first-year festival.
“This has been really challenging because we’ve had no baseline – we didn’t know if 100 people would buy tickets or 20,” she said.
Riordan said there was a great deal of enthusiasm from the restaurants involved in the festival. Despite the cancellations, she still expects the festival will provide guests with good meals.
“Everyone is going to be well fed,” Riordan said.