SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Syracuse International Taste Festival, which was recently named by USA Today to be one of the 20 best city food festivals in America, has come back to the fairgrounds!

The festival will be at the Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission is $5 advance sale through March 31, and $10 at the door or online. Children age 10 and under are admitted for free.

“Food tells us a lot about the culture of people in a given place. Our festival brings together the food cultures of places most of us have never been. It’s a delicious way to travel without ever leaving home and gives us a path to understanding people we may never meet. Your appetite is your passport,” said Stephanie Pestillo, festival director.

Tickets are available here.

This year will include more than 20 vendors

More than two dozen food and beverage vendors will offer entrees, sides, desserts and snacks ranging from American barbecue to Greek pitas to African dishes, from empanadas to Korean specialties to a vegan take on cheesesteak and much more.

Asian Creations: 

  • Ji-woo’s Korean Seoul Food ~ Dukbokki, Sweet Bop, Hot Bop, Chick Bop, Mandu dumplings
  • Chinese Community of Syracuse ~ Specialty desserts and treats 
  • India Community Religious and Cultural Center ~ Fine Indian Cuisine 
  • Oompas Loompyas ~ Filipino fusion foods with a twist 
  • Building the Bridge – Korean Food ~ classic Korean dishes

Foods of the Americas:

  • Mamacita’s Restaurant ~ Authentic Puerto Rican flavors with a new and fun flair! 
  • Mexican Street Corn ~ Sweet, tasty street corn 
  • Juicy Freeze ~ Classic fruit smoothies and frozen cappuccino
  • Freddy’s Agua Fresca ~ Fresh squeezed lemon & limeade flavored with homemade syrups crafted from fruit, herbs and botanicals
  • Birria Quesotacos Syracuse ~ Unique birria tacos filled with flavor
  • Limp Lizard ~ Classic BBQ, pulled pork and more! 
  • Calle Tropical ~ Specialty empanadas and Latin favorites.

Tastes of Europe: 

  • Chocolate Treats-Eastern European Fare ~ Dark & white chocolate-infused sweets
  • Eva’s European Sweets ~ Polish delights including pierogi, kielbasa, golabki
  • Carousel Cookies ~ Baked goods and Italian specialty cookies 
  • Eats by Elaine ~ Italian Comfort foods such as riggies, meatballs and more! 

Pan-African Cuisine:

  • Our Vegan Corner ~ Vegan menu includes chick’n dinner and sandwiches, V’illy cheese steak, Dazzle chili bowl, chili cheese fries, black bean soup, tacos, mac-n-cheese, cornbread, collard greens, yams and cakes. 
  • The Taste of Africa ~ Central and Eastern African food such as plantain, rice dishes, veggie and meat dishes
  • Johnny Gee’s BBQ and More! ~ Classic BBQ and soul food twists

Middle Eastern Treats: 

  • Habibis Halal Middle Eastern Cuisine ~ Gyro, beautiful side dishes and sweets 
  • Oasis Market ~ Custom Middle Eastern foods, spices, oils and treats
  • Pita Dream ~ Pitas, unique salads, hummus and falafel – veggie and meat options

Kids’ Country:  

  • Carvel Dewitt ~ Ice cream cones/cups, hot fudge sundaes, milkshakes, orange & root beer soda floats
  • Clear Path for Veterans ~ Offering kid-friendly size hamburgers and hotdogs & sides
  • Mr. Squeeze Lemonade & Citrus Infusions ~ Lemonade and specialty drinks for all ages! 

Also, various beers and liquor from Syracuse Suds will be available all day at the festival.

Full details on all aspects of the festival can be found on the website.

There are four featured performers lined up for this year’s festival

Not only can you eat some amazing food at the International Taste Festival, but also enjoy performances throughout the day.

“The heart of the festival is to present the many cultures of our world through performances, food and crafts that show us how we are linked in one great human adventure. This year, we’re casting an even broader net and I know these experiences will be as entertaining as they are eye-opening,” said Stephanie Pestillo, founder of the International Taste Festival.

The four featured performers are listed below:

  • Yamatai (12:30 p.m.)
    • Yamatai is Cornell University’s student ensemble for the Japanese style of drumming known as taiko. The group’s stated aim is “to explore musical possibilities of taiko drumming in contemporary adaptations while respecting the origins of the traditional art.”
  • Agape Black Belt Center (4:15 p.m.)
    • Agape Black Belt Center will show a demonstration of basic and advanced Taekwondo skills from the Rochester-area school
  • Odesa Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (7:15 p.m.)
    • Now in its 7th decade of promoting pride in Ukraine’s national heritage through song and dance in venues around Central New York
  • Freddy Colon and the Latin Jazz Quartet (8 p.m.)
    • Features professional percussionist Colon leading a band in Latin jazz and R&B. Colon is part of the longtime Rochester group the Mambo Kings and is a leading jazz educator who has appeared with Aretha Franklin, Tito Rojas, Ray Sepulveda and with symphony orchestras across the country

What will be returning to the festival for a second year:

  • St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church Dancers, at 11:15 a.m.
  • Chris Thomas and his Smoke Dancers at 11:45 a.m.
  • Music Is Art – Pan-African Drumming Performance at 1:30 p.m.
  • Syracuse Highland Pipe Band at 2:30 p.m.
  • Vietnamese Community of Syracuse Performance at 3:15 p.m.
  • Central Bellydance of Syracuse at 5:30 p.m.
  • India Community Religious and Cultural Center Performance at 6:30 p.m.

The International Taste Festival 5k and 10k will also be back!

The International Taste Festival 5k and 10k courses lead through the fairgrounds and the New York State Empire Trail. It will start and end at the Center of Progress Building.

Registration is $45 for the 5K and $55 for the 10K including admission to the International Taste Festival.

Runners can register here.