Westchester Food and Wine Festival kicks off with Party on the Pier

It was a night of food, fun and spirited drinks at Rye Playland and people were ready for it.
Hundreds came out to celebrate the first day of fall and enjoy the festivities.
“We feel comfortable coming out outside. We haven't been hanging for so long,” says Alicia Brewster. “This is something we do every year.”
The event kicked off Westchester magazine’s Food and Wine Festival. It was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Organizer Elizabeth Bracken Thompson says this year has a greater meaning.
“This has been a difficult year for bars and restaurants. We are here to salute them and celebrate the return of the restaurants,” says Thompson.
There were plenty of bars, restaurants and food trucks there to feed the crowd. 
Peter Kelly, owner of the Yonkers restaurant X20, says it is nice to be back in business after 18 months of uncertainty thanks to COVID.
“It’s great to be out and doing our thing, cooking for people, shaking up cocktails and being at Playland,” says Kelly.
A friendly competition to determine the best bartender in Westchester, Bartender Shake-Off, was the main attraction.
Two-time reigning champion, Emilio Ugarte from the River Market, won again with his drink, "The Guapo."
“I'm feeling confident for what I did and how my cocktail came out to be. I'm happy with it, I'm happy with it,” say Ugarte.
It was fun time for everyone and hopefully a sign of life returning to normal.