The organizers of Taste of Great Falls have planned an event that they believe will eclipse the offerings made last year. Several new restaurants and vendors are participating in the culinary festival, which is planned for Sunday, Oct. 10, on the Village Green.
Jorge Adeler, with the Great Falls Business and Professional Association (BPA), which is staging the event, said, ÒItÕs a celebration of the end of summer. ItÕs a giant block party really. ItÕs a great opportunity to have neighbors meet each other with good food and drink.Ó
There are 13 local restaurants participating in Taste of Great Falls this year. Restaurants such as LÕAuberge Chez Francois, King Creole Catering and Dante Ristorante Italiano are participating in the day.
ÒThis is a sophisticated event,Ó said BPA organizer Terry Graves. ÒItÕs a little more upscale in theme than other places. The menus are larger in a number of cases than they were last year.Ó
Stephen Dulaney said residents should turn out to the event and sample new restaurants or try offerings at familiar restaurants that they havenÕt ordered before. ÒThis is an opportunity to see your neighbors and be able to enjoy all the different restaurants you havenÕt been able to enjoy before, for whatever reason. This is food and fellowship.Ó
At last year's Taste of Great Falls 17,800 tickets were sold during the event. ÒWe are always optimistic and expect even more this year,Ó said Adeler.
ÒLAST YEAR was our inaugural voyage. Last year was moving down the road with this adventure and movement to create,Ó said Graves. Taste of Great Falls, created by the BPA as a way to familiarize the community with local businesses and to bring the community together, taught the BPA to have high expectations last year. During the course of the day they began to run out of beverages, plastic cutlery and napkins when the event grew bigger than they anticipated. ÒWe had three times the people last year, which is good and bad because we ran out of stuff,Ó said Graves.
Attendance at the Taste of Great Falls is free but indulging in the offerings costs $1 per sample ticket. In addition to the restaurants, there are also numerous local artisans who will be displaying and selling their work, music and picnic opportunities. There will also be hourly drawings for the residents featuring gifts from local businesses and sundry things.
ÒThe event is free but if youÕre tempted by all those beautiful things it will cost you, but at a substantially reduced price,Ó said Adeler. ÒThe restaurants subsidize the cost to give people a taste of what they offer,Ó Adeler said.
Last year the restaurants brought their signature dishes to the event. This year, according to Adeler, ÒThey have promised to surprise us. They are competing but in a friendly way.Ó
Behind the food and fun of Taste of Great Falls is a very serious message being promoted by the BPA. ÒItÕs a feel-good day and we all need feel-good days. ItÕs extremely important to form the bonding with the community. This is a bond between the businesses and citizens of Great Falls that is the fiber of our community. ItÕs not just an expression, itÕs something youÕve got to feel,Ó said Adeler.
The BPA works to develop new avenues between the community and local businesses to promote Great Falls' retail opportunities and highlight the diversity of shopping opportunities within Great Falls borders.
ÒI hope the community appreciates, and IÕm sure they do, the unique nature of Great Falls as a community, as a town and as a village. It is unusual in its ambiance because you donÕt normally find places like this in Northern Virginia,Ó said Graves.
The money raised by the BPA at Taste of Great Falls goes back into the community to fund other events throughout the year, According to Dulaney, last year's event raised over $17,000. ÒSome of the money goes toward charities in Great Falls and some goes toward other outreach programs we are developing for the community,Ó said Dulaney. For example, a portion of the funds raised last year helped launch the recently released Great Falls directory that was mailed to all homes in the area.
The Taste of Great Falls takes place rain or shine. There are 20 tents that will be set up around the Village Green with the various artists, craftsmen and restaurants housed underneath.
Even before the event kicks off, organizers have an eye towards next year and making the day grander. ÒAs this expands and becomes even better known, we will have even more next year,Ó said Graves.