Monday, May 28, 2001

Taste protesters, organizers dispute attendance




By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Taste of Cincinnati slogged into its second day Sunday amid cold, rainy weather and protest marchers who refused to eat there.

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John and Patti Dunham of Springfield Township watch protesters march.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        The marchers, who are protesting what they consider a long history of racial injustice in Cincinnati, said the crowds were smaller than average.

        But festival spokesman Raymond Buse III called the crowds “stellar.”

        “A good day of Taste is 150,000 people,” he said Sunday evening. “Today has been a good day but it's slowly evolving into an excellent day.”

        A sampling of five vendors Sunday evening indicated sales were average, or a bit above.

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Taste of Cincinnati continues today from noon to 9 p.m.
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        Other than a few heated exchanges between protesters and bystanders, the food fest was mostly trouble-free. By Sunday night, there were no arrests.

        The protesters peacefully marched up and down Central Parkway mid-afternoon, carrying signs that read, “Let's stop the hatred, prejudice and racism and come together as a city.”

        “This is for all the people who have been victims of racism,” said marcher Dr. Camille Graham, a Roselawn pediatrician.

        Many people in the crowd stepped aside and watched as the marchers walked by, or accepted handbills. Occasionally, a person in the crowd shouted at the protesters; sometimes protesters shouted back.

        But many Taste-goers said neither threats of protests nor the rain could deter them.

        “Part of why we came is because we're not afraid to be down here,” said Debra Loreaux of New Richmond.

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