A large crowd gathered in the Faribault American Legion for the 26th annual Taste of Faribault — even during a tornado watch and power outage.

“This will be ‘that’ Taste of Faribault for a while,” Faribault American Legion President Nort Johnson commented in the midst of the power outage, which took effect around 6:45 p.m. “With our vendors still having food, I think even if the power won’t go on, the Taste of Faribault will go on.”

Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce Events Director Casie Steeves said she and her co-workers reached out to Chamber members and non-members to present their food and beverage offerings at Taste of Faribault. Twenty-six vendors set up tables this year, including new participants El Colibri and the Channel Inn.

“It’s new and exciting every year (Taste of Faribault) happens just by what our members bring,” said Steeves, prior to the turn of events later that evening.

Bluebird Cakery offered their newest menu items – macaroons, which disappeared long before the power outage, and caramel apple and raspberry muffins.

The Inn at Shattuck St. Mary’s also distributed dessert products, including stuffed croissants and cream puffs.

The Cheese Caves of Faribault brought several cheese varieties, including Ranch, pesto, and regular cheese curds.

Ruf Acres Market, a stand that included products from different suppliers, also offered cheese samples. Kathy Huph of CannonBelles Cheese said she’s pleased with her partnership with Ramon Carrion, owner of Ruf Acres. Using Carrion’s tomatoes, Huph crafted a new cheese called tomato basil queso fresco. For her first time at Taste of Faribault, Huph said she was impressed with the sizeable crowd.

“I liked the habanero honey offered that will be available at Ruf Acres in about a month,” said Katie McGillen, who attended Taste of Faribault to try all the local business’s food offerings.

Michele and Jay Voegele, who took over as owners of Channel Inn in Warsaw Jan. 1, were also new to Taste of Faribault this year. The Voegeles brought several varieties of their flatbread pizzas made from scratch.

“I got to see new faces and people who didn’t know we were even open,” said Michele.

Although the event was scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m., vendors packed up by 7:30. In the last half hour of the event, the light of cell phones helped vendors see the food they dished up and distributed to Taste of Faribault attendees.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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