MEBANE — It’s hard to say how many attendees of the annual Taste of Alamance wended their way through the counterclockwise circuit of 24 vendors in the Mebane Arts and Community Center on Monday, April 30.
“I know we gave out close to 400 trays,” said Heidi Norwick, president of the United Way of Alamance County, the host.
For about 10 years now the Taste of Alamance has been a big draw for locals who like to eat and drink. A $30 ticket let those people fill those trays to their hearts’ content, starting with tandoori chicken and pakoras stuffed with daal at Taaza Indian Bistro’s table, and working their way around to Smitty’s Ice Cream.
Whether out of a sense of delighted exploration or grim determination, some probably did make it to all 24 tables, but most struck strategically to grilling (ahem) each other about whether they would prefer the shrimp and grits at the Village Grill or the exotic deviled eggs at Il Centro Kitchen.
“I may have to go with Michelle’s Kitchen,” Alex Winters said. “Their chicken and greens were pretty good.”
Three-year-old Miles Winters, however, preferred “everything sweet,” his father said, including the fried cheesecake bites at Buffalo Wild Wings and Michelle’s strawberry shortcake.
He was also a big fan of the minty sweet tea available at the Brixx Wood Fired Pizza table, which was very refreshing.
It was also a chance to hobnob with a good half dozen candidates for public office filling trays and shaking hands.
Cutting Board owner Jim Clark said his restaurant had been at the Taste of Alamance off and on for about six years. It’s not bad for business, and he always hopes for a spike in catering jobs out of it, but that’s not the point.
“We do see some benefit from it,” Clark said. “We hand out $5 coupons, and we see a lot of them coming back, but we also do it for community support.”
Norwick said last year’s event brought in something like $17,000, which is great, but a small slice of the more than $1 million the nonprofit distributes to more than 57,000 people in need. But it puts a good light on the United Way and is an event she really seems proud of.
“It’s a really diverse group of people from all over the county,” Norwick said.
Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.