CINCINNATI -- The heat couldn’t keep hungry festivalgoers away from the Taste of Cincinnati this weekend as the event matched an attendance record set last year.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber said they estimate that more than 550,000 people attended the three-day event.
The event turned 36 this year and is the longest-running culinary arts festival in America.
“We’re extremely pleased with our attendance, to bring in those numbers not once, but now two years in a row means our team is providing an unparalleled experience,” Chamber Vice President Patrick Sheeran said in a release. “We had ideal weather again this year, coupled with the Reds home stand versus the Cardinals, and both were vital in driving our attendance.”
Sheeran added that it’s more than just about numbers and that “most importantly we gave our region another year of a Memorial Day tradition that we can all be proud of.”
Organizers said attendance estimates were based on food and beverage sales.
The Chamber said it donated $16,000 to Cincinnati State’s Midwest Culinary Institute based on proceeds from the event.
Sheeran said opening at 11 a.m. each day was well received by patrons, as well as the extra food options -- more than 250 this year.
Craft beer was also front and center as the Chamber reports that the Christian Moerlein tastings at Fountain Square and the West Sixth Brewing Food Truck Alley were popular among festivalgoers. The festival also featured 70 live music acts.
A new claim to fame for the festival was becoming a Twitter trend for most of the weekend. Organizers said they were the top trend Saturday and in the top five for all three days.
During the Taste, patrons drank about 10,625 gallons of beer and used more than 2 million forks -- the entire Cincinnati region is estimated to have a population of 2,200,000.