Sunshine chased from Taste of Southington
By DENISE APARO
Local residents tried to keep a sunny outlook as thundershowers loomed over the 16th Annual Taste of Southington on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the Barnes Museum. The event was sponsored by the TD Bank of Southington.
Large tents offered shelter from the rain and seating for guests as storms swept through the area. Heavy rain shortened the event, and the Music on the Green concert was eventually canceled. Officials hoped that the two events would run concurrently, but officials for Taste of Southington said that they were pleased that so many attended despite the weather.
“The local vendors have been cooking all day, so it says a lot about our community to see so many people come out in the rain,” said caretaker Bonnie Plourde. She took numerous calls that day from people questioning the event, telling them all, “Yes. We’re here, and there is plenty of food and dry seating.”
The vendor tents were arranged across the damp lawn, as large grills sputtered and spat from the rain. Patrons clutched umbrellas while ordering their food, but soggy weather did not dampen the mood of the many locals enjoying the cuisine.
With damp hair and a broad smile, Tyler St. Pierre with Saint’s Restaurant & Catering, chatted while he turned hotdogs. “This year marks Saints 50th anniversary, and this event is the first of many,” he said. “We plan to shut down Saints with a block party, and then we will be offering some throwback classics like a $1 hotdog day.”
Many came early and sat happily chatting under the large tent with their food. The event featured 12 diverse restaurant choices, such as hotdogs, ribs, panini, meat pies, sushi, pasta, gourmet cupcakes and more. Each vendor represented the colorful diversity within the local community.
Sabrina Merrifield came from Bristol with her mother-in-law Joyce and two daughters Sophia and Maddie, who was attending as Miss Petite Plantsville.
Merrifield said they came last year when they had a car show and face painting, but this year they could not walk around much, due to the rain. Her mother-in-law enjoyed a meatball grinder from Paul Gregory’s Bistro, while her girls split a large s’mores cupcake. They also sampled Paradise Pizza & Grill.
“The pizza is really good with a thin crust and they give you a huge slice,” said Merrifield.
Also representing the town with sash and crown was Petite Miss Southington Leah Aparo and Southington’s Little Miss Sunshine Layla Campolo. They were given shelter from the rain as they munched on pasta samplers by Catering by Chef Ralph.
As people dined out side, the museum inside was bustling with free tours hosted by museum curator Marie Secondo, along with Brenda Wooding and other volunteers. Visitors were greeted by hosts in each room with a unique story of the Barnes family home.
“The event and free tours are a way to make the museum more visible to the community,” said Secondo, “and we have a new World War I exhibit with various countries’ flags that were once displayed across the front porch.”
The museum volunteers were very accommodating. They handed out water and pointed out dry places under the porch to view the menus and eat their food.
The various restaurants included Smokin’ with Chris, CC Carvers, Sweet Mango Japanese & Thai Cuisine, Geno’s Grille, Paul Gregory’s Bistro, Saints Restaurant & Catering 50th Anniversary, Namaste India, Foodology—Christina’s Gourmet Cookies, Sixpence Pie, Co., Ideal Tavern, Paradise Pizza & Grill, and Catering by Chef Ralph.
For those who were unable to attend this year’s event, the local restaurants can all be found in the Southington area.
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.
Photos by JOHN GORALSKI