Take a bite

Published 12:10 am Sunday, September 13, 2009

For longtime Suffolk residents and first-time visitors alike, Saturday was the perfect day to get a taste of Suffolk.

The third annual Taste of Suffolk event lured thousands to downtown Suffolk Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the music of local bands, performances by the Peanut City Cloggers, a celebration of the city’s 35th anniversary, crafters offering their creations for sale, and more.

However, the centerpiece of the event, and its namesake, was the food.

“This put the real taste in Taste of Suffolk,” Kevin Hughes, acting director of economic development for the city, said.

The event drew about a dozen city restaurants offering their signature treats and other snacks along the side of Main Street or in their buildings. Everything ranging from snow cones to bacon-wrapped quail was sold on North Main Street.

“I think it’s highly successful,” Councilman Charles Parr said. Standing in the middle of Main Street and looking north and then south, Parr estimated about 1,000 people were within sight.

“Everybody’s done a great job,” he said, speaking of city staff and volunteers who put the event together. Parr also noted Sue Woodward with the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society gave an interesting presentation on the history of the city for its 35th anniversary.

Many attendees said the event gets better every year.

“I’m looking forward to next year,” Bob Stephens, a member of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Foundation Board of Directors, said. Stephens was at the SCCA booth promoting the center’s shows and memberships.

Mike Mulleavey, a new resident in Suffolk, said he came to the event to “see what Suffolk’s all about.”

“I like how neat it is that they’re willing to shut down their main street for this,” Mulleavey said, noting other communities simply do street festivals on side streets.

“It shows a commitment to the event,” Mulleavey said.

Business owners along Main Street said the event had increased traffic in their stores.

“There’s a lot of people who have never been in here before,” Marcy Miller, owner of Uniquely Leo’s, said. “Everybody seems to be having a really good time.”