Downtown Pickerington will be buzzing with activity Saturday, Oct. 5, as three separate events combine to form one large festival highlighting local restaurants and businesses.
The 15th annual Taste of Pickerington once again will feature Pickerington-based restaurants and caterers offering samples of their fare to the public for $1.
In addition, the Marketplace will spotlight 40 area vendors promoting and selling their services and products.
And new this year is the first Mount Carmel Health Fair, which will highlight companies that provide health-care services and health-related products.
The festivities will start at 11 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. There is no admission fee.
All activities will be located on East Columbus Street, which will be closed from Center Street to Cross Street in Olde Pickerington Village.
Organizer Helen Mayle, president of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, said it was simply a good idea to bring the three events together under one banner.
"When people come down to get a taste of one of the 18 restaurants, they can also walk around and see all the other stuff," Mayle said.
She said the Taste of Pickerington format allows a person to sample the best of what area restaurants and caterers have to offer.
"The samples are good because the restaurants want that one opportunity to capture you as a customer," Mayle said.
"People come at 11 (a.m.) and stay to the end," she said.
"There are so many different samples, they may eat for three or four hours."
Mayle said this year will be the first in which there is a "celebrity chef," made possible by Mark Myers of Sears Hardware, who is "is providing a stove, refrigerator and microwave" for cooking demonstrations.
Participating restaurants and caterers will vie for various awards in several different categories.
"Our restaurants are eligible for Best Dessert, Best Beverage, Best Entree, Most Healthy and (Best) Appetizer and, of course, the coveted People Choice Award -- a purple spatula -- that hangs in their restaurant until the next Taste of Pickerington," Mayle said.
She said the Marketplace event "is a great economic development tool" for the area.
"It creates a kind of awareness for our businesses to let people know what they have," she said.
The Mount Carmel Health Fair will present a demonstration area featuring activities such as yoga, karate, dance and weightlifting.
Demonstration coordinator Nate Williams of Max Muscle said people can enjoy something new they otherwise might not have considered trying.
"We're covering all the bases," Williams said. "We're trying to promote an active lifestyle for all ages."
Mayle said entertainment will feature music from the Lovebenders and a presentation from Pickerington Community Theatre.
Additionally, the annual wing-eating contest between the Pickerington High School North and Pickerington High School Central football teams will be sponsored by Roosters.
A pizza-eating contest between the Pickerington Police Department and the Violet Township Fire Department will be sponsored by UNO Chicago Grill.
Children's activities include a bounce house from Rule 3 and the Pickerington Public Library's crafts and face-painting.
"We really encourage families to come," Mayle said.
She said the event not only will educate and feed the public, but serves to promote about 70 Pickerington-area businesses as well.
"It's really a community fair," Mayle said.
"It's the largest community event that has local businesses involved," she said. "People love it."