The Queen City populace is awfully proud of any firsts or bests we achieve. So it's fitting to really celebrate, especially this year, one of the finer traditions this fair region has going strong: the annual Taste of Cincinnati.
Started 25 years ago as a one-day event in Piatt Park with 5,000 people attending, Taste now dominates the entire Memorial Day weekend. Spread over four blocks on Central Parkway, an estimated 500,000 people show up each year to sample bites from the area's best restaurants, to hear local and national musical acts and to (of course) drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol.
Officials with the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the event organizers, call the Taste of Cincinnati the oldest continually running culinary arts event in the country. That's a big feather in the city's cap, they say. The event was spawned when a member of the Restaurant Association attended a similar food fest in New York City. The idea was embraced by other members of the local Restaurant Association and the Chamber of Commerce, and the rest is history.
The best part is the event's relative affordability. For one, admission is free. You can't beat that with a corndog stick. Also, all menu items — including 60 different entrées, 32 appetizers, 26 desserts, 15 seafood dishes and 17 kid-friendly items — are kept reasonably priced at $4 or less. New this year are Hershey's Kissmobile, the 1853 Christian Moerlein Pavilion and some new treats from Graeter's Ice Cream.
Wandering the streets of downtown, gorging yourself with food and brew until you ache ... that's soooo Cincinnati.
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