Upper Arlington News

Chamber to host 20th Taste of UA Aug. 8


Local food, specialty beer and a multitude of area businesses will be on full display for the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce's 20th installment of the Taste of UA.

The Taste of UA will take place from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in Northam Park.

The event is an annual showcase of area businesses -- particularly restaurants -- where celebrity judges and the public may vote for the best offerings of everything from appetizers through dessert.

"The Taste of UA is free to attend and we encourage all of our vendors to do small samplings so visitors can try multiple vendors," chamber President Becky Hajost said. "Samples typically are $2 to $5."

This year, approximately 100 vendors will participate in the Taste of UA.

In addition to food, the Taste this year will highlight its "Premier" members, which consist of area businesses that have purchased "upper-tier" memberships with the chamber.

Hajost said Premier members participating in the Taste will be designated with signs, and visitors will be encouraged to visit their booths to both gain a better understanding of those businesses and their products and services, and to receive stamps which will enter the visitors for chamber raffle prizes.

This year, those prizes include three overnight weekend stays in Columbus-area hotels, as well as a trip to Cancun, Mexico.

"Visitors will want to stop by the chamber tent upon entering the event," Hajost said. "We will have maps and they'll be key-coded."

Also new to this year's Taste will be the Daily Growler Beer Garden.

Although the chamber has provided beer at nearby locations in the past, this year will be the first time the beer garden will operate within a fenced-off area of Northam Park.

All alcohol sales and consumption are restricted to the beer garden, sponsored by the Daily Growler, which offers a plethora of craft beers on tap at its store at 2812 Fishinger Road.

"We're very excited about this," Hajost said. "It's a chance to sample local craft beers and visit all of the vendors in the park."

Toward the conclusion of the festivities, a celebrity panel will award first-, second- and third-place prizes in different food categories.

That panel will include Upper Arlington Schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff, Upper Arlington City Manager Ted Staton, chamber board of trustees Chairwoman Edie Blough, Columbus radio personality Shawn Ireland, and still-to-be-announced representatives from the Columbus Crew, Ohio State athletics and WBNS-TV.

Additionally, Taste of UA visitors will have an opportunity to select the winner of the People's Choice Award.

As has become tradition, the Taste also will feature amusement rides and inflatables and for the first time, a NASCAR race car will be on site.