While some local events are being postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, others are shifting to a virtual format and/or offering more virtual events to replace the in-person ones that were cancelled or postponed.

Here are the latest events making that change:

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, which was originally scheduled for May 28 through 31, was postponed until the fall due to the pandemic. Aug. 7, with large-scale events this fall unlikely due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, the festival is shifting to an online format Sept. 10 through 19.

As a way to deal with the outbreak and give back to the restaurant community it’s celebrated for the past 10 years, the festival will host a series of digital seminars and select socially distanced meals. Honoring the rich tradition of Southern sustenance, this year’s event will forgo the festival and instead present 13 digital seminars, called AF&WF At Home Edition Presented by Publix.

It will also include 11 dinners, two lunches and one brunch, all with limited, socially distanced seating. All ticket sales from the digital seminars will benefit the talent and 70% of ticket sales from the chef experiences will go back to the restaurants.

“COVID-19 has had a life-altering impact on the restaurant community that has helped build this festival to internationally known status over the last 10 years,” Brett Friedman, CEO of Agency 21 Consulting, said in a news release. “We are leveraging our platform to drive business and revenue back to them as a show of solidarity for our partners and friends.”

Late last year, Agency 21 Consulting was brought on to execute and manage the festival in conjunction with founder Elizabeth Feichter with the intention of making this year’s 10th anniversary celebration the best yet. The pandemic changed everything, but not the spirit Southern hospitality.

The festival will stay true to its origins, offering a celebration of the South. In its limited capacity, it is welcoming some amazing new talent this year, including 2020 James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Ron Hsu (Georgia) and James Kerwin (Tennessee). Returning founding talent, who have been instrumental longstanding supporters of the festival, includes Georgians Deborah VanTrece and John Castelluci and 2019 James Beard Award semifinalists including Misti Norris (Texas), and Erik Bruner-Yang (Washington).

Here are details on the virtual and in-person events at this year’s festival:

♦ AF&WF At Home Edition Presented by Publix: Exploring the rich bounty of cuisine throughout the South, this series of virtual seminars has something for every taste, from a pie master class with Pie Bar’s Lauren Bolden to a seafood couvillion with crab fat rice from Isaac Toups and curry in a hurry from Miami culinary sensation, Timon Balloo. For a list of digital seminars, visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com/athome.

♦ Dinners, Lunches & Brunch: Whether it’s an intimate themed dinner or an extravagant bash, the festival knows how to celebrate in true Southern style – and demonstrate the finer elements of Southern hospitality. Indulge in one-of-a-kind dining experiences including a special collaboration dinner with chefs Jeb Aldrich, Matt Weinstein and Claudia Martinez at Tiny Lou’s, An Evening in Provence dinner with AIX’s Nick Leahy or The Pasta & Vinyl Experience presented by chef Craig Richards at Lyla Lilah. Tickets for chef experiences range from $95 to $200 and $10 for the seminars.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlfoodandwinefestival.com. Offer is fulfilled by the festival subject to availability and may be changed or revoked at any time.

Recycle and Shred Event

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day, the annual community service day hosted by Leadership Sandy Springs each April to celebrate Earth Day, was postponed this year due to the pandemic.

In its place, on Sept. 12 Leadership is holding the Recycle and Shred Event, a scaled-back affair where residents can recycle or shred unwanted items from 9 a.m. to noon. It will take place in the City Springs south parking lot, 174 Hilderbrand Drive. The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber partnering with Leadership Sandy Springs on the shredding portion of the event with the help of chamber member EcoShredding.

Old electronics, paper, tennis shoes and paint can be recycled or shredded. Residents are asked to begin cleaning and saving everything they want to recycle.

With the electronics recycling, data still installed on any computers, servers, hard drives, phones or tablets being recycled will be wiped/irreversibly destroyed to the same standard (NIST 800-88) as eWaste ePlanet’s national, regional and local clients.

A minimum donation of $15 per car will benefit Leadership Sandy Springs and will be payable at the entrance. Social distancing will be observed. Just pop your trunk and volunteers wearing masks and gloves will unload your electronics.

Also, a small group of Leadership Sandy Springs volunteers will work to install music and art equipment for Phase 2 of the Lake Forest Elementary School playground, and the organization is partnering with Sandy Springs Conservancy volunteers on a trail cleanup project at the Big Trees Forest Preserve.

For more information, visit www.leadershipsandysprings.org.

The CHRIStal Ball

CHRIS 180, which was to host The CHRIStal Ball, its largest annual fundraiser, Aug. 20, has shifted that event to a virtual format due to the outbreak. It will be held at 7 p.m. on CHRIS 180’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

CHRIS 180 is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that aims “to improve our community by providing children, adults, and families with high-quality, trauma informed behavioral health services and support systems,” according to its website. CHRIS is an acronym that stands for its core values: Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety.

Led by co-chairs and CHRIS 180 board members Julia Houston and Terrin McKay, the organization decided on the online format instead of delaying the event because of the pandemic.

CHRIS 180 has stepped up as mental health first responders during the crisis, serving thousands each week with emergency relief services including food distributions in Atlanta Police Zones 1, 3 and 6 where many residents are suffering due to the loss of jobs and income during the public health crisis.

“We believe that as an organization, our mission calls on us to meet people where they are, and for us that meant leaning in to help meet basic needs as well as providing counseling and other services, CHRIS 180President and CEO Kathy Colbenson said in a news release. “In making the decision to hold our ball in August, we knew funds were needed immediately to support the children, youth, adults and families who rely on CHRIS 180 to help them fill the gaps in this most difficult time.”

With a call to action to raise funds for both emergency relief efforts and continued programming, CHRIS 180 chose the theme of “Honoring our Heroes” for this year’s ball to spotlight its staff members, who have shown their dedication to helping clients build resilience and strengthen their mental health during this season. The theme is also a nod to the organizations corporate, foundation and individual donors who have given throughout the pandemic season. Current clients and staff members will share their perspectives on the organization’s life-changing work during the event.

Registration to the ball is free. For more information or to register, visit www.christalball.org.

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