Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Look Back . . .

Part III: Taste of Cincinnati

A five-part series revisiting five 2007 Cincinnati Festivals: MidPoint Music Festival, Fringe Festival, Taste of Cincinnati, Oktoberfest, and Riverfest.

Other than family, Thanksgiving for me is all about the food. And no summer festival is more about food than Taste of Cincinnati. A program of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the festival is held each Memorial Day Weekend and this year was no exception. From Saturday May 26 to Monday May 28, an estimated 500,000 festival goers gathered for food, music and fun. This year however, there was a difference. Taste was moved from its location, since 1988, on Central Parkway to 5th Street, highlighting an almost completed Fountain Square.
I went every day, each day with a different agenda. Day one was "family day" as I spent time with my sister, her husband and their one-year old twin boys. Let’s just say you don’t get vary far, very fast. Day two was by myself to just leisurely stroll now . . . without a stroller! Day three was with a friend to grab some dinner and catch the Emerson Drive concert on the B-105 Stage.
Photo by Jason at Cincy Images
The move to 5th Street I thought was overall successful. I’ve heard some comments that it made the event feel too spread out. If it did I didn’t mind that. I though the pluses of having Taste surround Fountain Square and the added benefit of places to sit in shaded areas far outweighed the negatives. My one friend didn’t like that now Taste and Oktoberfest were both be downtown, on the very same street, in nearly the same footprint. His comment was to, "spread them around." I can see his point, but it doesn’t bother me. I see no issue with Fountain Square as the epicenter for two, large community festivals. Though I actually think that once Central Riverfront Park is complete, I could see Taste moving down there. But we have a while to wait for that . . .
Photo by Jason at Cincy Images

My one complaint every year with Taste of Cincinnati is the food choices. While this year was better, it sort of feels like "Taste of Anywhere" with the a few chain restaurants participating. I certainly appreciate all the effort these restaurants make to participate. I am sure it is not easy and there has to be cost considerations. But I would like to see more Cincinnati-based or uniquely Cincinnati restaurants participate. How about instead of, or in addition to, Carrabba’s, what about Via Vite participating next year? What about Jeff Ruby’s steak empire participating next to Outback Steak House? And yes, I know Carrabba’s won Best of Taste.

Anyway, you know I'll be back next year regardless of the location or the selection of restaurants. To check out all of Jason's photos of Taste of Cincinnati at Cincy Images, click here.

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