Sunday, July 3, 2022

Slowly but surely: Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Coasters and Craft Brews was only the beginning

Busch Gardens announced a new limited-capacity event, Taste of Busch Gardens, featuring food favorites and specialty drinks not normally served at the park. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Busch Gardens)
Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced a new limited-capacity event, Taste of Busch Gardens, featuring food favorites and specialty drinks not normally served at the park. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Busch Gardens)

Thrill-seekers and local entrepreneurs alike will be excited to know Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s recent limited capacity event, Coasters and Craft Brews has been met with success.

So much success, Busch Gardens decided to extend the event through the end of August.

“I think it’s really evident that our guests were ready to get back to a sense of normalcy,” Cindy Sarko, spokeswoman for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, said. “We were really thrilled to be able to provide that for them with these limited-capacity events.”

Sarko added the park was near its capacity limit for a majority of the event.

After Gov. Ralph Northam announced re-opening restrictions for entertainment venues — a category amusement parks like Busch Gardens fall under — the park was only able to operate with a 1,000 person capacity limit.

This is significantly small compared to the park’s normal capacity limit at 24,000.

Only a few villages were open in the park to accommodate the capacity limit, including Scotland, Ireland, France, and New France. Sarko said park officials did not feel it was necessary to have the all the villages open.

Like guests, employees are required to wear facemasks while interacting with the public, Sarko said. Employees went through training pertaining to the new safety guidelines before Busch Gardens opened up for the new event.

Safety guidelines were not the only change seen at the park. The pandemic pushed back launch dates for new attractions meant to open this year. Pantheon, a multi-launch coaster, has been pushed to open in 2021.

“We are very excited about our pipeline of world-class new attractions slated for 2021 and beyond, and for guests to safely enjoy our new, exciting event lineup including Kids Weekends, Food & Wine Festival, Summer Nights, Bier Fest, Howl-O-Scream, Christmas Town, and more,” Sarko wrote in an email.

But Coasters and Craft Brews was just the beginning. The park has several more limited-capacity events up its sleeve.

If you love the Food & Wine Festival, then you’ll love the Taste of Busch Gardens. Patrons can come and enjoy new entrees along with wine tastings and specialty beverages. There will be 10 food kiosks spread out around the themed villages, with food stands including The Brew Bar, Decadent Delights, and the Best of Food & Wine Festival.

For the thrill-seekers, the event will also feature four roller coasters, including Alpengeist and Verbolten, Le Scoot, and the Screamin’ Swing.

“Coming off of our very successful Coasters & Craft Brews event, the Taste of Busch Gardens is another way for us to provide our guests with a unique experience sure to create long-lasting memories, while operating with enhanced health and safety measures in place,” said Kevin Lembke, president of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, in a news release.

Busch Gardens will also be expanding the footprint of the park for this event by adding the Reinefeld and Oktoberfest villages.

Sarko said as long as guests follow the 6-foot social distancing guidelines at the food kiosks, the event should go smoothly.

Taste of Busch Gardens will run Sept. 2 – 27, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 5 – 9 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 – 9 p.m.

This special event admission starts at $44.99. You can bundle admission and a tasting card for $68.99, which includes five menu items, or $92.99 which includes 10 menu items.

Just like the Coasters and Craft Brews event, only people with a reservation can attend in order to maintain the capacity limit. You can make your reservation here.

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