Commentary: Why there isn’t more Edmonds in the ‘Taste’

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Jan Nicholas

“Why isn’t there any Edmonds in A Taste of Edmonds?”

I have heard this question over and over.

Being new to the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce (the producer of the event), I took it upon myself to “Bring Edmonds back to A Taste of Edmonds!” After all, how hard could it be? Clearly it’s what the people want. I was on a mission.

After talking with many, many local business and restaurant owners, I learned why only four of the 35 food vendors in the Taste are local (Demetri’s Woodstone Taverna, Kafe Neo, Scott’s Bar & Grill and Moonshine BBQ). In addition, I discovered why many local stores pass on having a booth in the Taste.

While our local restaurants are sympathetic and understand that people would love to see them in the Taste, most just can’t participate. And here’s why:
1. They don’t have enough staff to operate a booth and the restaurant at the same time.
2. They don’t have a mobile kitchen to prepare food away from the restaurant.
3. If a chef cannot prepare a signature dish to their standards, they don’t want to sell it!
4. They can’t store all the food and supplies they will need for the Taste.
5. Plus all the other items you need for the event: tent, insurance, tables, signs, etc…

The same is true with our local stores. Between staffing, bringing in enough merchandise to sell, getting insurance, tents, tables and display racks; it is a lot to ask a small business owner.

Lucky for us, we can frequent our wonderful local restaurants and businesses any time of the year.

So there you have it. Yes, it is called A Taste of Edmonds, and you may feel like there should be local food available to make it feel more like Edmonds. But the truth is, A Taste of Edmonds is one of the highest-rated festivals in the state and people are coming from all over to see our wonderful city. And when greeted with a warm welcome, they are certainly going to want to come back to explore more, “tasting” what Edmonds has to offer.

Visit our new website, www.TasteEdmonds.com for more information about the 2017 A Taste of Edmonds.

— By Jan Nicholas, Edmonds Chamber of Commerce

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for looking into that… I certainly can’t blame small business owners for not wanting to take on additional costs, especially with the economy still not at 100%.

  2. I would encourage the Chamber of Commerce to change the name of the event to better reflect that the festival is NOT a “taste” of Edmonds. The name of the event is misleading and sets up visitors for disappointment–especially because many of the food vendors at the event are doing the summer “festival” circuit and can be found at almost any event in the Puget Sound Region. I would also recommend that the Chamber be more selective of the vendors that participate. Thanks for being open to suggestions from Edmonds residents.

    • Hi Deborah, Thank you for your reply! You are correct, because local businesses are not as able to participate, you get some of the same folks who are set up for doing festivals. We do try hard to select a good variety though from all of the applications that we get. I would love to chat with you in more detail as to what you would like to see in The Taste.
      Edmonds Community College is currently working on a feasibility study concerning the Taste.
      One of the elements is the name. The Taste has been around for 35 years and there are thousands of people that really look forward to it every year. But, to your point, it may be misleading to some. To be continued! Regardless of the name, it is a fantastic opportunity to be able to welcome so many visitors to our great city and encourage them to return and visit our local shops and discover that a Taste of Edmonds means so much more than what they find in the festival!

  3. CORRECTION!!
    I inadvertently omitted Kafe Neo as a local vendor in The Taste.
    Kafe Neo has been participating in The Taste for 20 years and we are thrilled to have them back again!

  4. Oh really? The festival is so large now that our locals cannot participate. I recall looking forward to the Taste in the 80’s when it was really an Edmonds centered festival. The local restaurants gave cooking demonstrations, had reasonably priced samples to try, and it was free. Now…..just a hugely profitable money maker for the Chamber. I guess it depends on what side of the fence you are on if you think the festival is successful.

  5. Booth prices are very high as is the entrance fee of $5 for 13 and up. Most come to get a taste of the many restaurants Edmonds has to offer only to go away dissappointed. I bet more outsiders visit than the locals. And the window and solar and newspaper vendors… how boring. Curious how much this event brings into the city of Edmonds. The location and weather is what makes this event popular. Mission failed Jan.

  6. She went and talked to the restaurant owners, and they aren’t able to participate because of economics and logistics. What do you suggest?

    I have so many food issues I can barely eat anything there, but that’s nobody’s fault. I’ll be there because it’s right in town and it’s still fun. What else can you do for five bucks these days?

  7. In my 14 years on the chamber board I lobbied unsuccessfully to change the name to a taste IN edmonds. Oh well…

    I worked in restaurants for many years in a previous life & Jan is right about the added expenses for brick & mortar restaurants to do this. The roving deep fried providers are set up for this kind of event.

    What locals can do is still support local restaurants that see a precipitous drop in business for that weekend every year. Traffic, lack of parking & ‘competition’ drive down their sales for those 3 days. Do what I do, listen to the music, don’t buy new windows & then go eat at Salt & Iron, Chanterelles or The Loft!

  8. As Civic Field undergoes a reconfiguration, the Taste will change as well, since the available footprint on Civic for the Taste will be smaller. That will create an opportunity to build more “Edmonds” into the event. What if we did the following:

    – expand the Taste footprint to include 5th Ave between Main and Bell for merchandise booths. That would get more Taste attendees into downtown Edmonds.
    – offer “Taste Tokens” for everyone paying admission to the Taste of Edmonds that provide a 50% discount at participating Edmonds restaurants and a 25% merchandise discount at participating Edmonds shops and galleries.

    The notion is to get more Taste attendees into downtown Edmonds to experience our shops and eateries rather than remaining at Civic Field then going home.

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