CANMORE – The annual festival that highlights the amazing local culinary scene in Canmore is returning in 2021.
Canmore Uncorked will take place April 8 to 22, but many of the large scale events the food festival has become known for will not take place this year.
Founder and director Andrew Nickerson said the long table dinner and events like the beer, wine and whisky festival will not be part of the Uncorked to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19.
"This year's event once again is making sure we are showcasing what the town has to offer in terms of food and beverages," Nickerson said. "But we want to do it in a way that is safe and within people's comfort zones.
"For those people who feel comfortable coming to Canmore right now, they can take advantage of the deals in any of the restaurants, or food and beverage providers."
He acknowledged there will be those who are not comfortable yet in participating in this kind of event and for them, there will also be a virtual marketplace where deals can be purchased for use in the future.
"We want people to be able to come back when they are comfortable and vaccinations increase," Nickerson said. "We have created an e-commerce platform that we will be rolling out."
Another big change for Canmore Uncorked is that retail businesses can also participate. Nickerson said businesses can offer activities or offer deals through the event's website as well.
"People will be able to have a more rounded experience and will be able to access discounts and specials at multiple locations," he said.
While in the past the festival was free to participate in for visitors and residents, this year in order to take part, the festival passport will have to be purchased online first.
The passport makes it possible for people to access the culinary deals being created by local restaurants, and food and beverage providers. The passports go on sale Thursday (March 18) online with individual ($25), couple ($40) and family options ($50). Early bird pricing is available until April 1.
A full list of participating businesses will be available by the end of the month, but Nickerson is excited already by the number of local establishments participating already.
"Anybody is welcome to participate," he said. "I am hoping people will support this."
Canmore Uncorked began in 2014 to celebrate local dining experiences; however, did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.