Inaugural Taste of Kendallville event kicks off Saturday
By Emeline Rodneas | KPC Media - The News Sun
Kendallville will kick off the first of three consecutive Saturday events this week at its inaugural Taste of Kendallville event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
According to Kendallville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynnette Leamon and office manager Lisa Wolf, the event came about from feedback from city residents.
“The idea was suggested to us by Jane Rey, since there are quite a few eating establishments downtown,” Wolf said. “We’re taking feedback from the community about what they want to see downtown.”
The goal of the event is to educate on resources available and entice people to bring a restaurant downtown. Places such as Jeny’s Tacos or The Blue Heron Ice Cream Bar should be ahighlighted destinations, Wolf said.
Participants will purchase a passport for $5 and receive a stamp at each booth when they visit. Completed passports can be turned in to a raffle for two free tickets to the Chocolate Walk in February, held the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. For every passport purchased, children 12 and younger get in free.
Six vendors have signed up to participate so far, including the Walmart deli, Richard’s Restaurant, Pizza Forum, the Kendallville Public Library and Knights Nuts. Each vendor will have volunteers present, presenting various food samples, featuring some of its best and most popular items. Other vendors interested in participating can contact the chamber for more information, up until the day of the event.
Kendallville Public Library, although not in the food-service biz, will be showcasing its new air fryer and Insta-Pot, which have become two new trendy items in the kitchen that can be used to create healthier meals faster.
Experience the Heart of Kendallville, the city’s main street organization, has donated five passports for the library to give away, and because the library loves Rambling Rocks, those who want a free passport need to go on a rock hunt.
Five specially designed Rambling Rocks will be hidden in downtown Kendallville, along Main Street from Rush Street to the railroad tracks, starting today as of 9 a.m. The library will post hints and photos on its Facebook page Friday morning, at facebook.com/kendallvillepubliclibrary.
The new parklet downtown will also be a part of the event, offering a place for people to congregate and sit. While plans were in place for an awning to be put up by this fall, the awning will have to wait until next spring, due to the parklet’s special size requirements and the cost involved in creating such a unique overhang.
“We see people stop at the parklet to eat picnics — it’s just another highlighted focal point of our downtown,” Wolf said.
Although feedback on the parklet was initially mixed, it seems to have gone over fairly well, so much so that an additional parklet will be added next spring in front of the Blue Heron Ice Cream Bar, to create additional seating and encourage more downtown wandering.
Stores downtown will also display decorated birdhouses that will be auctioned off Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Vintage Market downtown during the annual Kendallville Apple Festival. Proceeds from the auction will go to next year’s art piece project. Each birdhouse has a unique theme, including one made of mosaics and one with a beach-theme. Bidding has already started online, with starting bids at $20.
Despite possible showers in the afternoon, the event will take place rain-or-shine. The Kendallville Chamber of Commerce building will be open for people to sit and relax, if rain does happen.
“With any first time, there are a lot of unknowns,” Leamon said. “We have such a wonderful downtown and it’s easy to take it for granted.”
The chamber hopes the event is received well, so it can become an annual tradition.
After this weekend, the chamber will be involved with two other downtown events.
On Sept. 29, Kendallville will host Trunk Treasures from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the chamber office. Like a parking lot garage sale, people can roll in and set up their own sale out of the back of their vehicle.
Then on Oct. 6, the Main Street Vintage market will run along with the first day of Kendallville Apple Festival. In an event that’s growing each year, vendors will be set up along Main Street selling wares and food.
During the vintage market, silent bidding will continue on the birdhouses at the corner of Main and East William streets, where they will be on display. All bids will close at 5 p.m. and the birdhouses will be ready for pickup no later than 6 p.m.
All proceeds from this birdhouse auction will be split between Experience the Heart of Kendallville for next year’s art and the artists who have painted/ created them.