Despite Weather, Taste of Bethesda brings food and fun

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Taste of Bethesda

Hannah Kramer (right) and a friend bundled up to enjoy the food festival

Locals strapped on their rain boots and wool coats Saturday, braving constant drizzle and frigid winds, for the annual Taste of Bethesda food festival.

Almost 60 vendors participated, offering everything from steaming bowls of chicken chili to beer-soaked hot wings right off the grill. The festival allows attendees to sample a range of entrees for about $2-3 per dish.

“So far I’ve eaten a samosa with all kinds of sauces around it. Also, free bread samples and free cookies,” said Hannah Kramer, a student and first-time attendee. “But, I’m just getting started!”

Taste of Bethesda is a lot more than just sandwiches, samosas and free samples, though.

“In addition to the food, we have five stages of live entertainment,” said Stephanie Coppula, marketing director for the Bethesda Urban Partnership. “We have swing music, rock and roll music, flamenco dancers, Chinese lion dancers—really cool stuff.”

Sonia, 7, posted with Cheezer the Clown

Some of the participating restaurants included Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle, which served guiness beef skewers, BlackFinn Restaurant & Saloon, which offered ying-yang shrimp and Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar, which fed patrons hot homemade jambalaya and gumbo. Hungry yet?

“We decided to do the festival again because we had such a great experience last year,” said Carlos Arana, owner of Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar. “We’re just excited to promote our food.”

Taste of Bethesda was started 22 years ago when a few local food vendors teamed up with the chamber of commerce to highlight downtown restaurants.

“They just wanted to promote the great restaurant scene in Bethesda, promote the food here and promote the diversity here,” Coppula said.

According to Coppula, usually the streets are packed full and unable to navigate. Although that wasn’t the case Saturday, several hundred people came out despite the weather. Coppula said she’s just happy residents came to celebrate the tradition of the festival that was just a small gathering two decades ago.

“Even though it’s a rainy day today, we’re just glad that lots of folks have come out to enjoy the food,” Coppula said.