Eateries to offer food tastings

By Ryan Cornell

An event in Downtown Front Royal this weekend is offering a little bite of everything.

The Taste of the Town, hosted by the Front Royal Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA), will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday on Main Street.

Royal Oak Computers owner Craig Laird, a founding member of the alliance, said this is the first time in more than a decade that this event has been brought back to the town.

“We wanted to find a community event that would be for the local community of Warren County,” he said. “A lot of the festivals are tourist-drawing events, but we wanted to have something to bring the people of the community together to show what we have to offer here in Warren County with local eateries and other businesses.”

For a $10 tasting fee, guests will get seven tickets to use toward tasting the dishes of various eateries. Vendors will price their offerings by a number of tickets, depending on size and complexity.

The event will also feature a car show and live rock music by Vinyl Tracks as well as balloon animals, face painting and a magician.

Additional tasting tickets are available for purchase at the event.

The Taste of the Town appeals to all sorts of eaters with its breadth of food options, Laird said.

“We’ve got quite a diversity of dining experiences,” he said. “I mean, everything from Soul Mountain, which is a Cajun type of experience, to Joe’s Steakhouse, to the Apple House with their pulled pork, gluten-free desserts from Happy Creek Coffee, who roasts their own coffee beans, so there’s a little bit of everything.”

Other vendors include the Flint Hill Public House, Down Home Bakery, Blue Wing Frog, Main Street Daily Grind and Crazy Carl’s Subs.

“It really shows a lot of what we have to offer here, that we have more than just the fast food places,” he said. “And FRIBA supports the local and independent businesses in the community, so you won’t see a chain restaurant.”

A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the Warren County Congregational Community Action Project organization.

In keeping with the events’ food theme, Laird said it seemed natural to support the local food pantry.

But what many might not realize is that C-CAP is far more than just a food bank.

The all-volunteer organization, which has helped area residents since 1978, also provides clothing, school and medical supplies and financial assistance for people at risk of losing their utilities or home.

C-CAP President George Rutter said demand for their resources, which currently serves about 1,500 families — nearly 12 percent of the county’s population — will be especially high come this winter.

“People have heard about us as a food bank or food pantry and that’s all well and good, but where we’re most tight is money to be able to provide financial assistance, particularly for the winter that the Farmer’s Almanac says is going to be a tough one and a real long one,” he said.

“In general, the donations from individuals and churches slightly has gone down while the need for financial assistance has gone up.”

Tickets for the Taste of the Town can be purchased in advance at Royal Oak Computers and City National Bank.

For more information about the event, contact Laird at 540-635-7064 or visit http://tiny.cc/1ug3lx