Hosted by the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority, Taste of Cartersville will feature about 20 restaurants and caterers selling samples of their finest foods. But the taste is more than literal as organizers have included features to please everyone.
"We've got a real good cross section of not only cuisine but different entertainment to hit all the different cross sections," said Sandy Lusk, DDA special events coordinator. "It's a taste of the lifestyle that we have here. You've got a whole bunch of different interests.
"It's really hitting the broad interests that is found here in Cartersville, and it's not just Cartersville restaurants, it's Bartow County. But it's a good way to get an overview of the local, not only favorite foods, but the great variety of businesses that are right here locally."
Food and Beverage Director at the Cartersville Country Club Derek Morgan is no stranger to the Cartersville dining scene. Participating this year with the country club, Morgan has been involved with Taste of Cartersville in years past with the award-winning D. Morgan's, which closed last year.
"I think to some degree we've lost the high end of gourmet dining with the closing of D. Morgan's but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other options that still deliver a high-quality product with high-quality service," Morgan said. "I think it's an opportunity to taste a lot of the local culinary talent that we have here. I know a lot of the restaurants around the Cartersville area work real hard to support local farmers and use as much local product as possible and anytime you can showcase local restaurants like that and local farmers it's a positive thing for the community."
Morgan added that the farm-to-table trend has grown in popularity across the country bringing an increase in quality to the customer, which he said can be see in local dishes.
This year's event will hold a slightly different format than in years past as guests will not have to pay an entry fee, they will simply purchase the food they want to try spending as much or as little as they choose. Samples will vary in costs as Lusk explains.
"The good thing about this year is there is no admittance, there's no entry fee, it's free and the restaurants are selling their samples anywhere from 50 cents to $3," Lusk said. "They'll just go straight to their vendor of choice and start eating."
Entertainment will vary from a fashion show featuring downtown boutiques at 1 p.m., followed by the Pat Parrot Island Band at 3 p.m. The Pumphouse Improv Players will take the stage at 4 p.m. with Woodland Idol winner Savanah Lowery rounding out the evening's schedule at 5.
Children's entertainment will feature games and guests from Atlanta sports teams, including the Braves, Thrashers and Hawks. Clowns from the Cartersville Fire Department will also be on hand to provide entertainment.
For men with other interests on their mind, Sam Franklin Furniture will provide a display of big screen TVs so that football fans can keep an eye on the game.
Several other vendors will be present, including civic organizations and nonprofits raising awareness for their causes. But the event as a whole has a goal to raise awareness that visitors may not even notice. The event has been constructed to reduce its impact on the environment by providing recycling bins and taking efforts to minimize waste.
"An event like this does generate a lot of landfill material and it's just an awareness that we're trying to make people conscientious of what kind of products they use and what they do because there is really no 'away.' You can't throw things away, it has to go somewhere," Lusk said.
Events will take place downtown in Friendship Plaza and in the parking lots across from City Hall surrounding the water fountain. Festivities kick-off Saturday at 11 a.m. and last until 6 p.m. For more information, call 770-607-3480.
"I think it's just a really good opportunity for people to come out, enjoy the small town atmosphere, the festival atmosphere, see what's available and sample it," Lusk said. "And I think that's what makes a small town really have that vitality and that sense of community because right downtown we've got a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker just like the poem says, we've got it all and it takes all of us."