photos and story by Joel Rafkin
Hundreds came in from out of the cold dreary weather to feast on foods and beverages from 45 area purveyors at the 22nd Annual Taste of Fort Smith on Tuesday at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
The event provides a great opportunity for people to experience many area restaurants in one place and at one time while contributing to a good cause. Diners who purchased a $12 advance ticket (or $15 at the door) had a choice between a lunch or dinner session — 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., or 5 - 7 p.m. respectively.
Each vendor gave out a small sample of their culinary creations, hence the name: Taste (of Fort Smith). Fear not those with a healthy appetite. A small portion multiplied by 45 vendors and unlimited additional helpings adds up to a big meal.
Cuisine included staples such as pizza and barbecue, gourmet cheeses, Mexican, diner and buffet fare, homestyle cooking and more. Soft drinks, wine, beer and coffee were available to wash it all down. And no meal would be complete without desert — of which there was plenty.
The local Altrusa International charity event donates the proceeds from the event to area charities. Project Compassion, Boy's Shelter, Community Rescue Mission and Fort Smith Public Library each receive $1,000 with the remainder split among Altrusa's literacy charities, said Debbie Findley who was in charge of publicity for the event.
Each year attendees vote on their favorite vendors in each of three categories: Favorite Taste, Friendliest Taste (friendliest service) and Most Tastefully Decorated. More than 1,700 people attended last year's event.