A grassy island in the Wal-Mart parking lot is shedding its asphalt facade for the evening of Aug. 23 to serve as the host site for the first annual "Taste of Canal Winchester" from 2-6 p.m.
The outdoor venue features local restaurants offering specialties of the house for a one-time $10 admission cost ($5 for ages 13 and under and free for ages under 2) with more than a dozen establishments expected to participate in the inaugural year. A covered dining area provides a place to sit and enjoy the wide variety of choices while listening to music and watching gymnastic performances.
Local restaurants include Club 33, Altercare of Ohio, Butch’s Italian Café, Pal’s Pizza, Super Suppers, BW3, O’Charley’s, Del Mar’s Baja Mexican, Cool Cravings, Papa Murphy, Kingy’s, and Shirky’s Pizza Zone and the event is sponsored by the Gender Road Business Alliance.
"The area will be fenced in and for the $10 admission price, people can wander around to different booths and sample what local restaurants have to offer," said Canal Winchester Development Director Chris Strayer. "There will be live entertainment and activities for the kids. Home Depot is presenting a children’s workshop and the Columbus Public Library will be reading to kids. There’s a little something for everyone."
The Canal Winchester High School Steel Drum Band will perform, in addition to Crossover, a musical group headlined by television news anchor Cabot Rea. Businesses outside of the food service industry will also be featured.
Strayer said the event will be held rain or shine.
The idea for the Taste of Canal Winchester was organized by the alliance as the first in a multi-pronged approach to attract people to the village and Gender Road area and create name recognition associated with an event, such as the Dublin Irish Festival and Pickerington’s Violet Festival.
"We realized we needed to create a bevy of events and had a bunch of ideas," continued Strayer, "to draw people to the local area. The Taste is our premier event. We want to build upon this and do something quarterly. We’re not looking to be a fundraising group, but rather promote the Gender Road and Canal Winchester area. We’re trying to spotlight the restaurants and businesses of Canal Winchester and call more attention to Canal Winchester throughout greater central Ohio."