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Events come back with strong attendance as COVID-19 wanes

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Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 23:53:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Thousands of attendees showed up for the first day of the Tallahassee Greek Food Festival.

Organizers said before the pandemic shut them down last year, they estimated averaging between 15,000 and 20,000 people per day. Now that people are trying to shake the COVID cabin fever, they may be seeing even more traffic this year than ever.

First-time visitor Alex Wilmot said he was shocked by the size of the crowd.

"When my friend asked me to come here I was not thinking that there was going to be this many people here," said Wilmot.

Returning attendees were equally impressed.

"I think it's definitely a little bigger just because everyone's been locked up," said Aleysha Sierra.

"It is," said Brett Perkins. "We talked to the lady at the taverna and she said this was the biggest turnout ever."

"People love it for the music, the band, the dancing, the food is wonderful, and the desserts, the pastries are outstanding," said organizer Manny Joanas.

The event paired outstanding sweets with consideration for COVID-19 safety.

"We've got it spread out, we don't have as many tents, we scaled back the venues, and so we've got the people spread out and I think they've appreciated it," said Joanas.

Organizers for other upcoming cultural experiences like Havana's Reggae Festival are preparing for large crowds as well. That event was canceled in 2020.

"We're prepared to see the folks come out in record numbers," said Maurice Grant. "We have bumped up the amount of staff. As always, we have safe distancing on the property, it's a 45-acre property."

If you're up to it, you can enjoy both events on Saturday.

The Greek Food Festival is from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Havana Reggae Festival is from 3 to 8 p.m. at the 5-F Farm Center. Entry is $20.