This year's Taste features two exciting bands, a magician, amusement rides and more for event goers to enjoy while sampling food and learning about the products and services offered by area businesses at the 17th annual Taste of UA.

This year's Taste features two exciting bands, a magician, amusement rides and more for event goers to enjoy while sampling food and learning about the products and services offered by area businesses at the 17th annual Taste of UA.

More than 100 area businesses and organizations will share their cuisine, wares and services at this year's event. Restaurants sell samples of their signature menu items and enter to win the annual "Taste of UA" food contest. Local celebrities including Johnny DiLoretto with Fox 28 News will judge appetizers, entrees and desserts, selecting winners for first, second and third place. Johnny and the crew will be at the event Thursday morning.

Carroll Baker is the People's Choice Award winner for the 2002 Society of American Magicians "of the Year Contest." Carroll combines his comedic sense with modern and classical feats that are side-splitting and baffling. Carroll will perform from 5 to 5:45 p.m. at the main entertainment stage followed by the Ark Band at 7 p.m.

The Ark Band is a St. Lucian reggae band, based in Columbus. Founded in 1987 by Terry and Eustace Bobb (The St. Lucian Riddim Twins), The Ark Band has continually toured across the United States, Canada and Jamaica sharing its roots reggae, calypso and soca music.

Combining heavenly harmonies with tight crisp performances, this powerhouse of talent captures its audiences with their very first note. The Ark Band's repertoire combines original and cover compositions with classic and current reggae hits designed to entertain, educate and enlighten all types of people. The Ark Band continues to be a dynamic force on the American scene after two decades, its songs expressing the love, peace, togetherness and spirituality needed in the world today.

The Bier Garten will showcase Avalon Nine.

Avalon Nine is acoustic duo Linda Blaine (Circleville) and David Clutter (Gahanna) who have performed together since 2005.

Avalon Nine plays a fun, eclectic mix with acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies and a touch of whimsy. From Joni Mitchell to Bob Dylan, the duo mines American roots music for gems from notable folk songwriters past and present. Extending their reach into rock and pop, they find fresh arrangements for familiar tunes, from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to the Beatles and Tom Petty. Avalon Nine covers a lot of musical ground.

Their 2010 CD release, Miss Ohio, is a collection of songs reflecting the life & landscape of Ohio by songwriters such as Gillian Welch, John Hartford, Rj Cowdery, and Steve Earle.

In addition to performing at festivals, restaurants and live music venues throughout Ohio, the duo supports a variety of arts, environmental and animal rescue organization by donating at least 12 concerts every year to community non-profits. www.myspace.com/avalonnine.

The Bier Garten is located at the southwest end of the park in the parking lot of St. Agatha's church. The Bier Garten will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. with Avalon Nine performing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

"The Taste committee and the chamber would like to thank our 'Silver Spoon' Sponsors: Cuzzins Yogurt, First Community Village/InCare, Herb Gillen Marketing, Net Point Marketing, LLC, Time Warner Cable, Tri-Village Magazine, and WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone and St. Agatha's for being such a supportive neighbor all these years," said co-chairs Colleen Krupp and Charlie Groezinger.