September 18, 2013 - BY ANDREA BEAUDOIN
Taste of Clarkston was fun for the whole family, even pets. Jim Raetzke holds baby Kendal while Steve Miller holds doggie Remey, who is on the lookout for any food droppings. Photos by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
Clarkston News Staff Writer
A rainy day didn't stop visitors from filling the streets of downtown Clarkston during the 16th Annual Taste of Clarkston.
"What a fun Taste of Clarkston," said City of Clarkston Manager Carol Eberhardt." It just goes to show you a little rain can't damper an amazing event."
Restaurants served up a multitude of specialty dishes and unique cuisines during the Sunday, Sept. 15 downtown party.
"This is an amazing community event every year," said Gabe Green, waiter at the Union Woodshop, as he served up tons of pork sliders.
Visitors purchased individual tickets for $1 and each of the 38 restaurants served up dishes requiring a varying amount of tickets. Participating restaurants get profit sharing for their participation.
Every kind of food imaginable was on the menus from pizza, to pulled pork sliders, salads, smoothies, dips, burgers, mac n' cheese, shrimp kabobs, sandwiches, smoothies and much more.
Tons of local restaurants and several from nearby communities also participated. Vendors also lined the downtown streets offering discounts, deals and freebies.
"I love Clarkston because of this event," smiled Katherine Shrout who had several family members from out of town join in the fun. "I have not seen the crowd diminish because of the rain."
Depending on who was asked, everyone had a different favorite dish, but all praised Clarkston for hosting such a great party.
"This is my first time to the event, and I love it," said Arlene Thorton of the festival. "I love trying all he brand new foods from different restaurants."
A group of teens came together to try out a bunch of the food and then headed to Depot park to try their hand at games-like archery area set up by Bridgewood Church.
"I like the vibe here," said Tyler Sosnowski who came with a group of friends all residents of Clarkston.
"I love food and games," said Brennan McLean.
Taste was hosted by the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, Independence Township Parks and Recreation and the City of the Village of Clarkston.
Executive Director of the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce (CACC) Penny Shanks said despite the rain, the turnout was good Ė an estimated 14,000 people attended.
"I am incredibly grateful for the turnout, to everyone who came out eat and I know the restaurants appreciated it," said Shanks.
She added the Taste of Clarkston is a major production and could not be pulled off by just one organization.
Volunteers from Clarkston Community Church had just a few hours before heavy rains blew in to take down all the tents. "And they did it," said Shanks. "They pulled it off."
As the signature event of the CACC, Shanks said a few things this year were "tweaked" to make it run more smoothly. And a big kudos to the hundreds of volunteers.
"We had 300 volunteers to help and all of them showed up. Independence Township Parks and Recreation does an amazing job setting up and getting tents up."