Annual Festival Draws 2000 to Historic District

Weather, Food, Music are Made to Order for Taste of SouthCoast
By Curt Brown

Jill Houck, owner of Flour Girls Baking Co. of Marion piles cookie quarters on a plate during Sunday's Taste of Southcoast. Andrew T. Gallagher/Standard-Times special

NEW BEDFORD — It’s always a good day when the weather is perfect, the bands are rocking and the food is delicious. That was the scene Sunday at Custom House Square as an estimated 2,000 people sampled tasty foods, enjoyed the company of friends and feasted on music throughout the afternoon at the fourth annual Taste of SouthCoast.
“It’s a perfect day,” said Bob Souza of New Bedford, who attended the event with a friend. “We had a nice time. We relaxed. We enjoyed the bands.” “I’m from Bristol (R.I.), and I think you guys have the best community events,” Fern Roth said. “It seems like you do a lot of community events — monthly events.”
Roth and her two friends heaped praise on the food, the music and the organization at the event, which was held in the heart of the city’s historic district. For $15, people got the chance to sample an international offering by many of New Bedford’s most popular dining spots, drink some of Massachusetts’ best beers and wines and listen to the sounds of The McCarthy, Richards, Legge Trio and Joshua Tree, considered Boston’s premier U2 cover band. “I love what New Bedford does ’cause it’s so positive-oriented,” said Russell Kandalaft, owner of Freestone’s, one of the restaurants that had a booth under a tent. “There’s so much positive energy around.
Everything is so positive and you want to feel a part of the whole thing.” Pat Long, co-owner of Rose Alley House, said he walked the short distance to his restaurant on Front Street eight times to get more chicken. By day’s end, he said they had served 100 pounds of chicken. “We didn’t want it to sit here. We wanted to make it fresh,” he said. “I think it was a great event.” Kevin Pelland, chairman of the board of directors of Downtown New Bedford Inc., the sponsors, said this year’s event was a success. He said Sunday’s turnout topped any of the three previous years, and it helped that the weather cooperated.
The biggest challenge, he said, while devising ways to keep the lines moving, is “a product of (their) success, and a nice problem to have.” Several hundred people stayed until the end, listening to the music as they sipped their water bottles or nursed their beers. They waved their arms, bobbed their heads and tapped their feet as Mike Golarz of Dartmouth, the lead singer of Joshua Tree, sang “Where The Streets Have No Name,” and again later when the band performed “One Love.” “It’s a great way to kick off the outdoor festival season,” Mayor Scott W. Lang said. “It sets a tone.” Those in attendance voted for Best Booth Presentation and the People’s Choice Award, which went to the restaurant that offered their favorite dish. Best Booth Presentation winners were Narragansett Star Cafe, first place; Dorothy Cox Candies, second; and On A Roll, third. People’s Choice Award winners were M&C Cafe, first; Not Your Average Joe’s, second; and On A Roll, third.

May 17, 2010 12:00 AM
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