For the first time, festival staying open until 9 p.m. Saturday
Published on page 1 of the Sept 18, 2013 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Marty Cheek
Downtown Morgan Hill will be abuzz with music, arts and crafts, beer and wine, and plenty of culinary delights as the 24th annual Taste of Morgan Hill brings in the crowds Sept. 28 and 29. The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce is experimenting this year in bringing an after-hours dance at the Third Street Promenade the Saturday night of the Taste, with performances by the band Road House and popular musician Shane Dwight.
The Chamber decided to extend the “Taste” hours on Saturday night through 9 p.m. in response to requests from the downtown stores and restaurants, said Chamber CEO John Horner. In past years, the Taste closed at 6 p.m. on Saturday night, but the downtown streets remain closed to traffic in preparation for reopening on Sunday morning.
“This is expected to be a full-on street-dance type experience, and we are excited about it,” Horner said. “This year we are keeping the event going on Saturday evening in hopes that some of the tens of thousands of visitors who come downtown for the Taste will stick around longer, enjoy the music and do some dining and shopping at our local establishments.”
Rich Firato, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, sees the Saturday night street dance as a way to keep the fun going into the evening and let restaurants and other businesses cater to the Taste crowds who stay to boogie to the music.
“This year’s Taste of Morgan Hill will be a big surprise for people when they come to the street dance,” he said. “They’re going to have something they haven’t seen for a long time — that home-town feeling of dancing downtown, partying downtown after hours at the Taste.”
Besides the street dance, this year’s Taste of Morgan Hill will have a new third stage dedicated to local youth music, dance, karate and similar groups who want to share their skills with the community. In the past, the Taste has had a limited number of such acts in between bands on the Second and Third street stages, but the new stage will provide a better venue for local talent, Horner said.
Other attractions to this year’s Taste include the always popular car show featuring 150 classic vehicles, and a record number of regional wineries participating in the main wine tent as the Chamber redoubles its efforts to showcase local wines to the festival’s visitors.
At the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, visitors can also wander among a maze of beautiful quilts, works of fabric art made by local residents for the annual Harvest Quilt & Fiber Arts show put on by the South Valley Quilt Association.
A new exhibit this year is the PG&E Business Education Plaza at East Third Street in front of the fountain promenade, said Lorraine Welk, a Chamber organizer of the Taste. “You can talk to representatives from Gavilan College, the Sobrato Arts Foundation, the new Next Gen Entrepreneurs and the Morgan Hill Business Institute just starting up this fall, just to mention a few,” she said. “PG&E will be on hand to welcome you.
“The Taste of Morgan Hill provides one of the broadest experiences of any festival in the region,” Horner said. “Some people come for the killer bands, some come for the awesome car show, some come for the outstanding Quilt and Fiber Arts show, some come for the kiddy rides in the Fun Zone and others come to sample the many foods, crafts and retails offerings from throughout our region.”
The whole family can come out of find things they like to do at the Taste, he added.
“There are not many places a person can go on the weekend to find engaging activities and entertainment for people of all ages and interests,” he said. “Much like Morgan Hill itself, the Taste offers something for everyone in a friendly, low-pressure, high-value experience. We are excited to offer a great weekend experience for our dedicated local participants, for those brand new to our community, and for visitors arriving from all over the state, nation and globe. Morgan Hill has so much good going on for it, and we love sharing that with anyone who wants to be a part of it.”
TASTE OF MORGAN HILL
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday Sept. 28 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Sept. 29.
Where: Downtown Morgan Hill