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Health inspections at the Allentown Art Festival

Over the past three years, there have been 42 health violations among food vendors.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — One of the biggest summer festivals in Buffalo will get underway this weekend -- the Allentown Arts Festival. 

Thousands of people will be in Allentown, checking out all the artists and enjoying the festivities. 

The Allentown Arts Festival will mark its 62nd year this weekend, once again proving to be intertwined with Buffalo's culture.

Streets in Allentown will be packed with aspiring and budding artists, musicians and food vendors.

A big part of any festival is the food.

2 On Your Side filed a Freedom of Information request with the Erie County Health Department to get health inspection reports over the past three years -- we wanted to see how many violations there have been and what they've been for.

READ: Allentown Art Fest Food Inspections 2016

READ: Allentown Art Fest Food Inpections 2017

READ: Allentown Art Fest Food Inpections 2018

According to health inspection reports -- over that three years -- there have been 42 violations.

17 in 2016 -- 21 the following year -- and just four violations last year. 

Vendors have been caught for various violations, such as not having screens on windows keeping insects out -- workers handling food without gloves on -- and food being stored at temperatures that are too warm. One vendor was caught not having a permit in 2016. 

The Erie County Health Department has two categories for violations -- "red violations" which appear to be more serious and have to do with food preparation and "blue violations" which have to do with sanitation and maintenance problems.

The department says it doesn't believe it has a serious problem among vendors at the festival.

"Our experience is that we don't find anymore violations at the food stands at the Allentown Art Festival compared to any other festival," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, "We'd expect that we will identify some violations and for most of the violations the vendors are able to correct them on site, so for example not wearing gloves or not keeping food at the appropriate temperature we work with them to educate them to correct it." 

Health inspectors don't look at everyone who's serving food. 

"We try to go in early, the beginning of the first day, and as I mentioned we will inspect all the food stands that are serving food so we don't have to inspect the food trucks because they're already on an annual inspection schedule," Burstein said.

Allentown Arts Festival president Rita Harrington-Lippman says no one, to her knowledge has gotten sick from food at the festival.  

To read the inspection reports for yourself click the links below:

Allentown Art Fest Food Inspections 2016

Allentown Art Fest Food Inpections 2017

Allentown Art Fest Food Inpections 2018