<&firstgraph>A crowd of more than 400 gathered Thursday evening to try a bit of what the city has to offer.
<&firstgraph>An almost endless offering of food options were available at the 27th annual Taste of Faribault, with nearly every vendor bringing multiple dishes for attendees to sample. From ribs to cheese to baked goods of all sorts, something was available for nearly every taste.
<&firstgraph>“We knew it was going to be good (turnout), because there were so many pre-sales,” said Nort Johnson, president of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. “And everyone brought their A-game.”
<&firstgraph>Arna Farmer said she’s been at every Taste of Faribault since starting her Faribault-based catering company, Arna Farmer Catering & Cakes<&firstgraph>, more than a decade ago. While she may be a regular presence, she always tries to bring something different for people to try each year.
<&firstgraph>This year, Farmer brought a variety of cakes along with a chicken salad and potato salad. She said that although many may be familiar with her catering business, it still provides a great opportunity to expose them to entrees and cakes they haven’t tried before.
<&firstgraph>Not every vendor on hand was a Taste of Faribault regular. For Faribault’s Crooked Pint, this year was their first taste of the Taste.
<&firstgraph>Crooked Pint opened its Faribault restaurant at last September, just before the Taste of Faribault, and wasn’t able to participate. The Faribault ale house is part of a chain that includes a dozen locations spread throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.
<&firstgraph>Ashley Kern, Faribault Crooked Pint manager, said that the Taste of Faribault was proving a great way to reach out to customers. Crooked Pint’s wings and tater tot hotdish were popular offerings.
<&firstgraph>“We’ve already had to run back to the restaurant to get more food,” she said.
<&firstgraph>For Jay and Michele Voegele, this was the second Taste of Faribault. The Voegeles purchased the Channel Inn in Warsaw at the beginning of 2018 and got the chance to participate in last year’s event — one famously interrupted by a tornado.<&firstgraph>
<&firstgraph>The Voegeles brought several kinds of homemade pizza and bloody Marys for attendees to try. Michelle Voegele said she was very impressed by the event and pleased with the strong turnout.
<&firstgraph>For Jeff LaBeau of the Depot Bar & Grill, this year’s Taste was his 27th. LaBeau was a founding member of the event and has returned every year since. LaBeau said that getting to interact with the crowd is always a highlight.
<&firstgraph>“I have a lot of fun with (Taste of Faribault),” LaBeau said. “It’s been a great run.”