After taking a lap around the Courthouse square, Robert Hawkins said he was ready to try some of the many treats offered at this year’s United Way’s Taste of Kokomo.
“I wanted to see what it’s all about,” Hawkins said near the event tent set on the north west side of the square.
“It’s a nice peaceful community gathering,” he said. “I made on lap around, now I’m ready to try something.”
Greg and Anita Ratcliff came to check out all the different restaurants at the event.
“They have a lot of different selections,” said Greg as he scanned the tents for something tasty. “We heard a lot of about it and decided to check it out. The advertisement for the event was a lot better this year.”
“I like having the events downtown rather than at the park,” Anita said.
Along with 35 area restaurants, the event featured some new not-so-well known restaurants and a few eating contests.
“This is good way to get local restaurants down here,” said Beth Rattray, of the United Way. “We’re trying to bring in those smaller places that couldn’t come here in the past because they run there own business and can’t afford to shut down to come down here.
“This is the second year for the event tent,” she continued. “It’s an opportunity to provide more entertainment.”
Some of the newer restaurants included Tokyo Cuisine, Gett’s Tacos, Plate Street Grill and pHresh! Interactive Juice Bar.
Smaller restaurants such as Ned’s Corner Pub and Artie’s Tenderloin also got their first taste of the Taste of Kokomo by entering the Tenderloin Throwdown.
“We came down to see Gypsy Revival,” said Joyce Clarkson, of one of the seven bands that performed throughout the night.
“The weather is beautiful and the event is wonderful,” she said. “Plus it’s for a good cause.”
As the night wore on people flocked into the downtown area reminiscing, listening to bands and sampling the treats.
Along with the Tenderloin Throwdown, the event tent featured a gourmet hamburger contest, a burrito challenge to see who can eat a 7-pound burrito the fastest, a red on red steak, wine challenge and a Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Challenge and a mixology bartending challenge. Results of the contests were not available by Tribune press time.
“This is a great crowd,” said Lori Tate, one of the organizers for United Way. “The weather is perfect. In the 16 years of this event, this is the biggest crowd we’ve had. And we have more restaurants here than ever before. We have the Technokats here, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. There should be something for everyone.”
• Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8565 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.