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Taste of Madison canceled, giving campaign launched

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The 2020 Taste of Madison has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced today, but a giving campaign will begin.

For nearly 40 years, the Taste of Madison has attracted thousands of people to Capitol Square on Labor Day Weekend as Madison celebrates the end of summer.

While many associate the Taste of Madison with some of Madison's finest food dishes and lively musical acts, the event also serves as a fundraiser.

That's why organizers are announcing the Taste of Madison Give Back Campaign.

This two-week online giving campaign will support Second Harvest Food Bank and Cook It Forward, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the Dane County restaurant ecosystem, with 100% of the donations shared evenly between the two organizations.

Donations and additional campaign information can be found at: www.givesignup.org/givebackcampaign or www.tasteofmadison.com.

The campaign will run June 1-14.

In addition to supporting the community, donors will be automatically entered to win a $100 gift card to a Taste of Madison vendor.

The decision to cancel by Madison Festivals, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the event, was made in accordance with the recently announced Forward Dane reopening plan for Madison and Dane County.

By limiting the number of large public gatherings, they are hopeful that they can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community, according to a news release.

“Nothing would make us happier than to see members of our community enjoying the Taste of Madison this September,” MFI President Sara Klemme said. “We share the disappointment in having to cancel such a highly anticipated event.”

Since its inception, Taste has donated over $1million back into the community. In 2019 only, the Taste of Madison raised $64,000 for local non-profits and provided more than $7 million direct spending in Dane County, according to Destination Madison’s 2019 Impact Calculator.

While donations aren’t necessary to enter the drawing, they are encouraging people to consider giving what they would have spent at the Taste of Madison this year.

“In 2019, more than 250,000 people attended the Taste of Madison. If every person that attended the event last year donated one dollar to the Taste of Madison Give Back Campaign, we could give our city an amazing gift,” Klemme said.

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