Taste of Amherst set to begin on Thursday

  • At the 2016 Taste of Amherst, Emily Melby, left, of Belchertown, helps her son, Connor, with his chocolate ice cream from Amherst Ice Cream as her father, Bob Wegner, of Dracut, tries some coconut raspberry chip during. This year’s event kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, June 14, 2018

AMHERST — Numerous local restaurants and an array of performers will be on the Town Common beginning Thursday as it is transformed into a four-day food festival.

The 27th annual Taste of Amherst will be much like ones held previously, with 18 participating restaurants, a non-alcoholic beverages tent and a beer garden with craft brews.

What is different this year is that the Amherst Business Improvement District, for the first time, is co-presenting the event with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event runs Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Ann Tweedy, marketing director of the Amherst BID, said three restaurants are participating for the first time.

Himalayan Friends Corner will have momos, sauteed noodles and lassi, The Works, will offer smoothies, Thai chicken salad and bagel bites, and Osteria Vespa will feature meatballs in a pita pocket.

Radio station WRSI The River was brought back to schedule the performers. In 2017, the Taste had limited live music.

“Lots of folks are really excited about the live music lineup,” Tweedy said. “For many people, it was their first chance to hear some great local bands.”

Those taking what is known as the River Soundstage will include Wildcat O’Halloran and Shokazoba on Thursday, Banish Misfortune, Glass House and  The Heavy Calm on Friday, Kimaya Diggs, The Fawns, Trailer Park, Workman Song, When You Got the Blues and ReBelle on Saturday and Pat and Tex LaMountain, Eric Lee and Friends and the Expandable Brass Band on Fathers Day.

Children will be entertained by exotic animals brought by the Lupa Zoo, including a hissing cockroach, snakes and a ferret. There will be various childrens' activities, including a bounce house, a rock wall and wagon rides by Muddy Brook Farm.

Chef Bill Collins will be part of several cooking demonstrations and attendees will have a chance to compete in an eating competition known as the Chowdown Challenge.