The Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce is expanding its annual food festival to satisfy more than one type of palate this year.

The Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce is expanding its annual food festival to satisfy more than one type of palate this year.

From 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, the chamber will host its annual Taste of UA at Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road.

This year, the event will feature food samples from 138 area vendors. Returning vendors include Dave's Dogs and More, Schmidt's of German Village and Caffe DaVinci. Other restaurants, including Nicola Restaurant and Bar, The Oilerie Columbus and Schakolad Chocolate Factory, will be participating for the first time.

"We have a phenomenal cross-section of area businesses and restaurants," chamber president Becky Hajost said. "It's a fantastic opportunity to get to know our local area businesses and sample local food. It's a wonderful evening."

Also returning to Taste of UA is the Bier Garden, showcasing specialty drafts and more, she said.

"We'll be offering wine for the first time this year," Hajost said.

Also for the first time, the UA Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Vaughn Music Studios to expand the entertainment elements of the event.

Hajost said Vaughn Studios is helping to give Taste of UA a professional stage, contributing equipment for live musical performances and using the studio's sound engineer.

"We want to entertain as well showcase our local businesses," she said. "It gives everyone an opportunity."

The four musical acts being featured this year are Avalon Nine, Good Company, the Central Planners and Grassinine.

Hajost said the expanded entertainment aspect is part of the chamber's renewed focus on reaching out to local artists and musicians and helping them grow.

"We're very excited about this ... because we're partnering in a way we haven't been able to before," she said. "We have so many local artists living and working in this community, it's amazing."

A panel of celebrities will once again judge the food, but new this year is the inclusion of a resident to the panel. Bryan Sirak was chosen by random drawing to judge food submitted by vendors in the categories of best appetizer, entree and dessert.

The Ohio State University Mobile Buckeye Tour will return with interactive games and inflatables.

Admission to Taste of UA is free. The event will be held rain or shine. More information is available on the chamber's website, uachamber.org.