By Belinda M. Paschal
PIQUA — Mainstreet Piqua’s Taste of the Arts is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, with the popular event set to take over the streets of downtown Piqua on Friday. This annual kick-off to summertime in Miami County will run from 5-9 p.m. in the 300 and 400 blocks of North Main Street. A family-friendly event, Taste of the Arts gives visitors a sampling of delicious food, live music and art. General admission is free.
The fest features 14 area restaurants and caterers offering popular menu items with prices ranging from one to four dollars. Purchasing food and beverages will be done with tickets from the tent conveniently located between the food tents. Tickets are sold in $1 increments.
The Main Street Kids Zone, in the 400 block of North Main Street, will feature free activities including six different offerings with make-and-take opportunities for kids. The special children’s entertainer this year is the Kuda Taka Taiko drum group from Mississinawa Valley High School.
Returning from last year will be the popular Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Parrots of the Caribbean, who will play on the main entertainment stage. Benches will be available for those who would like to sit a while and enjoy the music. In addition, the barbershop group Lamppost IV will be strolling the downtown and performing in a number of storefronts throughout the evening.
Artist demonstrations and exhibits will be held in storefronts along Main Street and the Apple Tree Gallery will host an exhibit of artwork by local students.
The Friends of the Piqua Public Library will be hosting a quilt show in the Piqua Public Library featuring demonstrations including knitting, tatting and quilting. They also will present the Ohio Watercolor Society traveling exhibit on the second floor of the library. Both events will be open throughout the evening free of charge.
Homemade crafts, jewelry, and scarves will be available for purchase in the Farmers and Artisans Alley in the quad next to Mulligan’s Pub at the intersection of Main and High streets.
Festival goers also can view Taste of the Arts window decorations created by eight local businesses. This year’s contest winner is Unity National Bank. Other downtown participants include Dobo’s Delights, Apple Tree Gallery, Uniforms Plus, and 311 Draft House, all on North Main Street, plus Arabella on West Water Street. In addition, the Miami Valley Centre Mall and Adam & Eve participated in the contest.
“Unity National Bank was the overwhelming choice of the judges,” said Lorna Swisher, executive director of Mainstreet Piqua. “A lot of man-hours definitely went into their window. We were thrilled with the response of the local businesses and we hope to do the contest again in the future.”
For more information about Taste of the Arts, visit www.piquatasteofthearts or call Mainstreet Piqua at (937) 773-9355.