A year after it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Food that Rocks: A Tasting Event Celebrating Sandy Springs will return this fall.

Entering its fifth year and normally held in May, the food/music festival will come back to the City Springs complex Sept. 23 through 25. It’s the first restaurant-focused special event announcing a return to Sandy Springs after these types of activities were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.

Typically a one-night affair, this year’s Food That Rocks is expanding to three days, with night sessions Sept. 23 through 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. and an afternoon session Sept. 25 from noon to 3 p.m. Each session will include tastes from participating restaurants, wine, beer, cocktail tastings and live music.

This year’s event will benefit the Community Assistance Center, a Sandy Springs-based nonprofit that helps those in need in both that city and Dunwoody.

“Food That Rocks was created to bring together community and entertainment for a cause,” Dale DeSena, the event’s creator and founder of Taste of Atlanta, said in a news release. “The challenge this year was reimaging the event to support the hospitality industry in a post-pandemic period.

“Rather than a single event serving large numbers, we are hosting multiple sessions. These smaller, intimate tasting events will allow us to bring Food That Rocks back in a manner that is safe and expands options for both our guests and restaurants.”

In the release, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul added, “Food is a powerful tool in creating strong cities. It brings people together, and a thriving hospitality industry contributes to the overall economic health of a community. Food That Rocks has added significantly to our efforts to elevate our dining scene while creating an entertaining event fun for the community.”

According to the event’s website, the 2021 participating restaurants have not been announced yet, but the bands performing have. They are Bumpin’ the Mango (Sept. 23), The English Rain (Sept. 24), Lilac Wine (Sept. 25 afternoon session) and Saved By the Band (Sept. 25 night session).

Tickets are $90 per person per session in advance and are all-inclusive ($100 per person day of the event). All attendees must be 21 or older. A portion of each ticket sold will cover the cost to permit a select number of COVID frontline healthcare and public safety workers to attend free of charge as a special thank-you for their efforts during the pandemic.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit foodthatrocks.org.

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