BELLINGHAM - Foodies and taste-testing novices alike will get the chance to sample local fare from more than 20 area restaurants and vendors at the eighth annual Bite of Bellingham Sunday, Sept. 22.
The Bite will feature savory and sweet offerings, from Cajun to modern American and Chinese. Liquid lover's taste buds will be put to the test at this year's new bartending competition. The 21 and older crowd can sample and judge the best concoctions from participating bartenders starting at 2 p.m.
The event will shut down the 1100 block of Railroad Avenue, running from noon to 4 p.m. at Depot Market Square. Admission is free and open to all ages.
To sample the provisions, attendees purchase tickets for $1 each at entry. Bites cost between one and three tickets, while entrees will run between four and seven tickets, depending on the vendor, said Lindsey Payne, Downtown Bellingham Partnership events manager.
Kulshan, Chuckanut and Boundary Bay breweries will offer taps (about five tickets) in the beer garden, including a Belgian-style dark ale the three created for the second-annual Bellingham Beer Week, which runs Sept. 20 to 29.
For a list of vendors, click here
Roving volunteers will remind people to vote for their favorites at anonymous ballot boxes around the venue, Payne said.
This year's competitive categories include Best Bite, Dreamiest Drink, Sweetest Sweet, Best Gluten-Free Bite, and the new bartending category.
The downtown partnership decided to move the event from the traditional August Saturday to a September Sunday this year so more restaurants could participate.
"August is always really crazy, and sometimes we don't have vendors sign up because it's too busy for them," Payne said.
In the past, the event was held on a stretch of Cornwall Avenue, and the partnership had to find generators to run the booths. This year, power shouldn't be a problem, as Depot Market Square is set up to host events, Payne said.
The square is used Saturdays for the Bellingham Farmers Market, so the space was not open, plus it is easier for vendors to attend on Sunday without worrying about staffing their restaurants for Saturday dinner service, she said.
Organizers also hope to capture some of the college crowd, as new and returning Western Washington University students will be back in town for on-campus move-in over the weekend, Payne said. In the past the Bite of Bellingham has seen crowds as large as 4,000.
Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-756-2803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.