Something sweet

Taste Downtown

Base Camp Baker photo

Downtown Baker City will burst with flavor during the Taste Downtown event on Oct. 7.  The event, formerly known as Taste of Baker, will give participants a chance to sample what the local restaurants and businesses have to offer.

BAKER CITY — Baker City’s tastiest event is coming up Saturday and this year, the 21st annual event will see more business participation than ever before with a focus on all the definitions of “taste.”

The new name is Taste Downtown —  a change from Taste of Baker.

“The idea of taste not as just restaurants, but to have an experience, discover something new,” said Beverly Calder, a board member with Baker City Downtown, which is organizing the event.

Taste Downtown runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants will get a card featuring the map of downtown and all the stops spread across 17 blocks.

“We have a big downtown,” Calder said.

Restaurants and retail businesses will be offering small bites and samples so people will have time to taste and move on to another location. People who get six stamps on their Taste Downtown card — one stamp per block — can turn in their card for a chance to win one of three $100 Baker Bucks certificates.

Everything will be priced by tokens, which can be purchased for $1 each in advance at Bella Main Street Market, Charley’s Deli & Ice Cream, Peterson’s Gallery, Barley Brown’s Brewpub and Queen City Modern. On Saturday, tokens will be available at US Bank, which is awarding $100 to the vendor who ends up with one specially marked token.

In addition to food and drink samples, other offerings include special deals on gift certificates or merchandise, a six-foot cheese board at Bella presented by cheese professional Cody Cook, and a cooking demonstration of creme brulee at the Geiser Grand Hotel (the demo is free; two tokens to sample).

“Blowtorch and actual fire is involved,” said Barbara Sidway, owner of the Geiser.

“Everyone is doing their own thing,” Calder said of the businesses. “It’s an opportunity for restaurants to try new things.”

Last year saw 4,500 participants in the event, with 14,000 tokens spent on food.

“It’s a really big deal,” Calder said.

Baker City Downtown has also recruited volunteers from Baker High School and Baker Middle School to be crossing guards at intersections without stoplights. In return, the volunteers will get five tokens to spend during the event.

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