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Thousands turn out for Taste of Savannah

Downtown Savannah doesn’t suffer from a lack of places to eat. Or drink. It might even take a newcomer a while to try all the hot spots. The thousands of people packed into Ellis and Johnson squares Saturday for Taste of Savannah, however, got to sip and snack on some of the city’s best fare in just a few hours.

With what was at times St. Patrick’s Day-level shoulder-to-shoulder crowding, hungry folks walked between the two squares sampling goodies at the annual event, part of the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.

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“People are just having a good time,” said Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli, watching the event from a booth area in Johnson Square.

The city’s tourism chief said he’d spoken with people from Wyoming, Tennessee, Texas and Canada at the festival — some who had extended their trip to stay for the event.

Attendees Saturday sipped wine, beer and spirits while eating a variety of foods including braised pork belly, ice cream with a kick, chicken and waffles and fruit plates.

William Clinkscales and Krystal Blanding of Anderson, S.C., made the festival their first trip to Savannah. Sitting with their 10-month-old son, Kaden, in a tent for a cooking demonstration in Ellis Square, Clinkscales said he thought they’d be back.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said.

Clinkscales said the best thing he’d eaten so far was chicken, and he enjoyed a strawberry lemonade vodka drink. They even found something for Kaden to eat.

“He ate the chicken,” Clinkscales said.

Standing near a tent in Johnson Square where authors were signing books, local comic book artist Dame Darcy carried her own hand-bound book of vegan and raw food recipes.

She said she came to the festival to get some ideas, and that she liked to rework traditional Southern cooking.

“There’s a lot of great stuff here in Savannah,” she said. “A lot of local stuff. You don’t have to be unhealthy.”

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