Olde Pickerington Village will be brimming with activity from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6 during the annual Taste of Pickerington and Fall Fest, sponsored by the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce.
The event is essentially two festivals hooked into one, said Helen Mayle, chamber president. She said the Fall Fest provides a venue for the chamber to "market, network and promote local businesses," whereas the Taste of Pickerington gives area restaurants the opportunity to offer samples of their fare to the general public for a nominal fee of $1.
"Each restaurant decides what they will be selling," Mayle said. "The variety this year will be Greek, Mexican, American, with pizza, desserts and specialty beverages. We encourage each restaurant to serve something that a person would not know they could order in that restaurant."
Mayle said she expects "a dozen or more" restaurants to participate in the free event, which will be located on West Columbus Street between Center and Cross streets in the heart of the Olde Village.
Allowing potential customers the chance to taste a particular establishment's offerings gives them insight into whether they want to patronize that restaurant in the future, she said.
"You can get a sample from a restaurant for $1. People comment that they weren't sure what the restaurant offered, but now they know they will enjoy becoming a customer," Mayle said. "My favorite statement was (from) a friend of mine who brought his 16-year-old son to Taste of Pickerington. He said, 'It is the first time ever my son has been full for $20.' "
Two food-related contests are scheduled at noon: a pizza challenge, sponsored by UNO Chicago Grill, in which the Pickerington Police Department will battle the Violet Township Fire Department; and a wing-eating competition, sponsored by A Taste to Remember Catering, between the Pickerington North Panthers and the Pickerington Central Tigers football teams.
Taste of Pickerington vendors will compete against each other for "best appetizer, best beverage, best entree, most healthy, best dessert and the coveted Purple Spatula award," Mayle said.
"The Purple Spatula award is a People's Choice award and the restaurant displays the award in their restaurant until next year's Taste of Pickerington," she said. "It is literally a purple spatula."
Mayle said other events include a performance by the Pickerington Community Theatre at 11 a.m.; various children's activities, including story-time readings, coordinated by the Pickerington Public Library; and music.
She said the idea behind Fall Fest is to get area vendors "out in front of the public" to display their products and services.
"There is just a variety of different (vendors) every year," she said, adding the vendors will compete against each other as well in categories such as best display, best interactive, best creativity and best of Fall Fest.
Public parking is available both on the streets and in many of the public lots throughout Olde Village, Mayle said.
For more information about the Taste of Pickerington and Fall Fest, visit pickeringtonchamber.com or call the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce at 614-837-1958.