Imagine, drinking a great Cabernet Sauvignon….Centre Ice

After 4 years at The Hamilton Convention Centre, Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste is moving to Copps Coliseum.  The Food & Drink Fest team is incredibly excited about The Big Move and pumped to tackle the challenges of working in an unknown building, which was built for concerts & hockey games, and not to facilitate the needs of 35 restaurants, 50 wineries and 15 craft breweries…all at once!  The participating restaurants, wineries & craft breweries are happy about the move because it gives each of them more elbow room to create and represent their unique menu choices.  The participating exhibitors are also happy because moving to Copps allows for larger aisle spaces so patrons can chat with the exhibitors and enjoy their food & drink without being jostled or carried away by the crowds of people. Repeat customers I have chatted with are ecstatic because the move to the larger venue eliminates the 45minute long line ups to get into the show on Friday & Saturday nights.

Copps Coliseum

The Big "C", Food & Drink Fest's new home!

Despite all of these positives, a few people I have spoken to are a bit worried that moving Food & Drink Fest to Copps Coliseum will cause it to lose the classy, intimate feeling the Festival with Taste has been known for.  But I have to disagree.  While I agree with all of the above listed positives about The Big Move, I am also excited to house the Food & Drink Fest at Copps for another reason: The building’s energy.

I’ve spent numorous days sitting in the middle of the ice rink imaging how the show will work and measuring out booth square footage, staging sizes and figuring out traffic flow strategies to make the show is larger, but still exciting and accessible for all.  Even empty, Copps Coliseum itself gives off an energy, excitement and anticipation unlike any other convention facility I have ever been in.  At Copps, you feel the jubilant vibes of past concerts and hockey games with screaming hometown fans, both young & old, pulsing through the corridors.  I think all Hamiltonians have several fond memories about Copps Coliseum, whether it be a Bulldogs game, open skates, the big U2 concert, your very first concert (mine was Neil Diamond…yes I know), The Brier, The Canada Cup 1987, or Disney on Ice.  It is very rare that an entire community has such open access to a large scale, multi-functional facility. Because of that access,

Copps Coliseum Rink

Copps Coliseum Rink

Copps Coliseum brings about feelings of positive community morale as well as personal nostalgic memories.   In addition, the staff at Copps Coliseum is the most friendly, passionate and knowledge group of folks I have ever met in the industry.  In a nutshell, the building itself has a memory & a life of its own that I believe will serve as a fabulous foundation for Food & Drink Fest.

Along with the buildings thriving energy, the layout of Copps Coliseum is going to allow people to go on a culinary journey at the Food & Drink Fest.  I view Food & Drink Fest as the opportunity to explore the best the Hamilton, Halton & Niagara Regions’ have to offer in the way of great food and drink…in one location and in one night. Even though Food & Drink Fest is just a snap shot of the regions’ “You Gotta Taste This” stuff; it certainly is not an experience that is meant to be rushed.  Rather, it is an experience that should be savoured, shared, gushed over, educated about and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved.  From past shows, we know that some people like to zip through the

The crowds at last Year's Food & Drink Fest

The crowds at last Year's Food & Drink Fest

exhibitors then double back to indulge in seconds at their favourite stations, while others like to linger over their plate or a cold sample of beer in a quiet corner before choosing their next tempting dish. Copps Coliseum affords us the room to ensure that everyone can travel this food journey at their own speed.  Having the Food & Drink Fest at Copps also allows the foodies to create their own path and food & drink pairings because the layout is favourable to meandering up & down and side to side along the aisles; allowing individuals to be drawn from one succulent aroma to another.  Just like the region, we plan to create some great sites for people to see and hear throughout their journey.  Look forward to seeing a plethora of cooking demos, exotic & eclectic entertainment (as well as some returning favourites), a boisterous piazza, local artists showcasing their works, relaxing cafes for some great people watching and of course, a few surprises.

So when you come to the Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste, I encourage you to come thirsty, bring your friends, your appetite and your adventurous streak to experience all the scrumptious delights on April 9th, 10th & 11th, 2010, Copps Coliseum….centre ice.

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