The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival is back for 2021! See what you can expect from this Tampa Bay favorite and how to get your tickets to this family-friendly event.
Thank you to Busch Gardens for hosting me for this event!
Spring has sprung and there's more than just flowers blooming at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. The fan-favorite Food & Wine Festival has returned for 2021 and I got to visit the park a few weeks ago to check out all of the offerings.
Until April 25, 2021, guests can visit the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival with regular park admission on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This means there are no special tickets for the event (unlike some theme park events which require an additional or special admission ticket), but food and alcohol are not included and are available for an additional fee.
First things first, if you're concerned about safety and crowds, rest assured that Busch Gardens is committed to addressing the health and safety needs of its patrons. The park has taken strict safety measures, including increased cleaning and sanitation, temperature checks, and face-covering requirements. Plus, capacity has also been significantly limited to create more open space for guests to maintain social distancing in a safe environment. During my visit, almost every guest wore a facial covering when they were walking around the park. The only time people were not wearing masks was while they were enjoying their food and beverages. I also noted that the event was much less crowded than prior years since the capacity was limited (which reminds me: guests do need to make a reservation in advance when purchasing tickets to ensure capacity is not met).
This year, guests can experience more than 110 tasty treats, including 22 new dishes, at the Food & Wine Festival Culinary Cabins. You can count on festival favorites and fresh twists on classic cuisines from around the country that pair perfectly with 50+ wine, beer, and seltzers and 20+ refreshing cocktails.
Whether you want sweet or savory bites, the Festival has you covered. There is such a great mix of food and flavors and it's best to map out which Culinary Cabins you want to visit so you can make the best of your tasting adventure.
The best way to experience the Food & Wine Festival is to purchase a Sampler Lanyard. You can purchase a 5, 10 or 12-item sampler lanyard to use at each Culinary Cabin to taste sample-sized dishes and drink offerings, saving you time and money. Pass Members can purchase an exclusive 15-item sampler lanyard for the same price as a 12-item sampler to enjoy three free samples.
Everything I tried during the Festival was great. I loved how easy it was to use the lanyard and how I didn't have to dig for my wallet or credit card anytime I wanted a taste.
Another fun surprise during the event was the expert-led tasting of bourbon and tequila tastings at the Xcursions gift shop. There was also a pretty fantastic selection of craft beers closeby which included some great local beers on tap from Tampa Bay Brewing Company and Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
Another fun addition to the Festival lineup is live music. There are a few different stages set up for bands and artists and they range from local singers to big-name bands you know and love.
This year, names like Vanilla Ice, Sugar Ray, and Sister Hazel will be visiting Busch Gardens, along with other fan faves. You can see the entire lineup right here on the Food & Wine Festival website.
Follow the event on social media using #corksandcoasters
I had another great visit to Tampa Bay and Busch Gardens during the Food & Wine Festival. I enjoyed my favorite thrilling roller coasters, saw countless animals, and sampled some super delicious food and drinks. It was an excellent day!
While you're visiting the Food & Wine Festival, be sure to check out some of their Instagram-worthy backdrops. There are a lot of great photo ops that you won't want to miss!
Thank you, Busch Gardens, for another great event! I can't wait to plan my next visit. Don't forget to purchase your Fun Card or annual pass in advance and make your reservation to ensure your admission.