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Local News / Food

Thursday, 12 May, 2011 2:27 AM

38 Restaurants to Participate in 2011 Taste of Ann Arbor on June 5

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Sabor Latino returns as a participating restaurant in the 2011 Taste of Ann Arbor.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Taste of Ann Arbor returns to Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor on Sunday, June 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Main Street Area Association, a local non-profit organization, is producing the event. It is free to attend and open to the public. Food tickets will cost 50 cents each. Most food items will be priced between 50 cents and $4 or from one ticket to eight tickets. In addition, there will be musical entertainment and an awards ceremony. Attendance spiked at least year's Taste of Ann Arbor due to the closing of the Comerica Cityfest.

"The Taste of Ann Arbor got started more than 20 years ago," said Maura Thomson, executive director of the Main Street Area Association. "It used to be an ethnic festival here in Ann Arbor. That sort of evolved into this Taste of Ann Arbor. It was a little more dance and cultural activities. Now, it is more focused on food and some entertainment. The event runs two blocks of Main Street."

Can you give me some highlights of this year's Taste?

"We are proud to say that Bank of Ann Arbor is once again sponsoring our entertainment," she added. "From 11 to 5 on our main stage, which is on the corner of Main and Liberty, we have entertainment running all day. We start off with a thoughtful blend and we go to dancing in the streets by the end. You start with a solo with Chris Good. He is from the Mutual Kumquats, which is a local group. We go right down and end with the 1s and 2s. They're a Detroit-based Motown dance band. In between that, we've got some great local entertainment."

What are some of this year's participating restaurants?

"This year, we've got 38 restaurants runs the gamma, anything from Indian food to Ethiopian food," the executive director explained. "You've got cupcakes from The Cupcake Station, fabulous chocolate from Schakolad. Real Seafood Company, Black Pearl, just for some of the seafood options. Lots of Italian, we've got Argeiro’s, Palio, Mediterrano. A full list of restaurants at mainstreetannarbor.org. I feel like there are too many to point out all of them because there are so many great restaurants."

How will the 2011 Taste of Ann Arbor be different from last year?

"Just mainly it keeps getting better," Thomson said. "Once again, our entertainment sponsored by Bank of Ann Arbor. I feel like it just keeps growing into a better mix of music. Our community activity area has grown a little bit. The Ann Arbor District Library is going to have some sand activity. We have a new retailer down on Main Street, Cherry Republic will be doing a cherry pit spitting contest so that's something different. University of Michigan Exhibit Museum will be there. We have a little bit more to offer in the family activity area."

Food tickets will be priced at 50 cents each. Most of the food items will be priced from one ticket to eight tickets (50 cents to $4).

"The event itself is free and open to the public," she added. "Each individual restaurant gets to price their items. It really runs the gamete. So if you just want to come down and enjoy the entertainment, maybe sign up for our summer reading program, come on down. If you don't want to indulge, that's fine."

The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run takes place on the morning of Sunday, June 5. It ends at Main Street, where the Taste of Ann Arbor will be held.

"This year, we have one of the celebrity guests at the Dexter to Ann Arbor Run, Frank Shorter, who I believe won the 1972 gold medal in the marathon in the Olympics," the executive director explained. "He's going to be one of our judges at Taste of Ann Arbor. We always love having the runners, rain or shine. We can always count on the runners being a part of Taste of Ann Arbor."

What do you have planned for the awards ceremony?

"We are doing the awards ceremony," Thomson said. "Basically, just the emcee, Linda Yohn from WEMU, will be announcing the winners. Then, we go ahead and present the awards to the individual restaurants at their booths. They're just too busy to step away during the event."

Do you think the attendance went up last year due to the closing of the Comerica Cityfest?

"That could have something to do with it," she added. "The weather was not ideal last year. We still had about 5,000 people. For a day with a little bit inclement weather, I thought that was pretty good. This year, I expect our numbers to be up even higher. The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run has not limited the attendance this year. I expect they'll have about 10,000 runners, which is going to impact our event."

Maura Thomson also produces the Ann Arbor Restaurant Week, which is scheduled for June 12 - 17, 2011.

"Get a sampling of the wonderful restaurants that you can make reservations at during our restaurant week, which follows the following Sunday, June 12 through 17," the executive director explained. "It is a fabulous event in Ann Arbor. It is a great reason to come to our downtown. For more information on Ann Arbor Restaurant Week, go to www.annarborrestaurantweek.com."

Related Story: Flavor and smell rise above downpours at 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor

For more information on the 2011 Taste of Ann Arbor, go to www.mainstreetannarbor.org.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Baby back ribs and mini jalapeño sausages from Carlyle. Look for them this year.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Shrimp skewers at the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Local band Bootstand performs at the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor.

 

 

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