Tuesday, May 28, 2002

'Taste' likely to break attendance record

By Jim Hannah jhannah@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Restaurateurs and Cincinnati Police say the 23rd annual Taste of Cincinnati may have drawn one of the largest crowds ever over its mostly sunny three days, despite continued calls for a downtown boycott.

Barb and Dennis Iverson of Milford try the sesame noodles from Song Long Restaurant.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        “I'd say it is a record-breaking crowd,” Cincinnati Police spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd said Monday.

        Some 500,000 people were expected, but becau sethere were no turnstiles at the downtown gastronomic extravaganza, no official count was available.

        At one point, the line for food at the Nicholson's/Desha's booth stretched across three lanes of Central Parkway to the grass median. It was something chef Andy Jacobs said he had never seen.

        “It was like people had never eaten before,” said Mr. Jacobs, who has been working the festival for several years. “They came rushing in at noon before we could get the food out.”

        “It's been terrific,” said festival spokesman Raymond Buse III. “Restaurants have been ecstatic. Crowds have been tremendous.

        Some of the 40 booth operators said there was a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest this year's crowd could be the biggest. It certainly was blessed by beautiful warm weather, and only brief showers Saturday night and Monday afternoon.

        Protester Linda Newman, co-chair of the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, said she was disappointed at the large crowds, but not discouraged.

        “For every 10 people that don't care, there is one that does... one person that hears our message,” said Ms. Newman.

        She was one of about a dozen protesters handing out fliers at Central Avenue and Race Street at 2 p.m. Monday.

        There were few reports of trouble at the three-day festival, which wrapped up at 9 p.m. Monday.

        “What protest?” Amanda Candor, 20, of Anderson Township said Monday when asked if the boycott affected her trip here. “I came out to try out different food and enjoy the sunshine. This is a great event to catch up with friends.”

        “The community came to the table this year,” Mr. Buse said. “The city has a lot to be proud of.”


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