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No empty stomachs to be found at 2019 Taste of Bloomington



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Bloomington resident Brandon Panganiban eats a meat bun from Oasis Chinese’s booth June 22 at the Taste of Bloomington. “I’m here for the food,” he said. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Thousands of people crowded downtown Saturday afternoon to have a taste of Bloomington.

Each summer, dozens of local restaurants set up booths to cater Taste of Bloomington, a festival where varieties of food are sold. People from all over Indiana pay the $10 admittance fee to try new foods, listen to live music and participate in arts activities.

Attendees could try pizza slices from Mother Bear's Pizza, pulled pork nachos from Crazy Horse, sweet corn on the cob from Smokin' Jacks Rib Shack, butter chicken from Taste of India or smoked pulled pork sliders from Upland Brewing Company. Additional options included alcoholic drinks, snow cones and many more food choices.

Taste of Bloomington offered free flower crown making workshops and caricature art for those in attendance.

Downtown Bloomington Inc. board member Cindy Kinnarney stamped attendees' hands as they entered the Taste of Bloomington through the 7th and Morton streets' entrance. She said part of ticket sales are donated to Hoosier Hills food bank, Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Downtown Bloomington Inc. and Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association.

Kinnarney watched over will call throughout the entire event. She said getting to interact with all the people made her job worth it.

“There are wonderful and passionate people in this town, and most of them are here today,” Kinnarney said.

Unlike other local events catering to specific age groups, Kinnnarey said Taste of Bloomington caters to everyone. Children under 12 enter for free, and the live music is friendly for all ages.

Kinnarney pointed to volunteers in red Taste of Bloomington shirts. She said it made her happy to see the community collaborate for this event.

Saturday was the first time Noah Thorpe, 21, went to Taste of Bloomington. Thorpe, an interior landscape technician for Nature’s Way, said he was unaware of the event until he asked his Soma barista why the roads were closed. She encouraged Thorpe to go to Taste of Bloomington, and he said he will definitely be attending the next eventin 2020.

“It’s a great way to sample local foods without spending too much money,” Thorpe said. He tried bison hushpuppies from Red Frazier Bison and garlic fries from Farm Bloomington. Thorpe said he was most excited to have an opportunity to try Farm Bloomington.

Ryan Hughes is the market manager for the food delivery service Mr. Delivery . He said 2019 was the fourth year he has vended for Mr. Delivery at the Taste of Bloomington.

He said he returns because it makes him feel like a part of a community.

Hughes handed out free cookies, popsicles, cups and more throughout Taste of Bloomington. He said watching a child’s face light up for a popsicle was the best part of his day.

"This is a big opportunity to give back," Hughes said.

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