Taste of South Routt offers music and local fare | SteamboatToday.com

Taste of South Routt offers music and local fare

Nicole Inglis

Darrell Randall tends to a grill filled with pork and teriyaki kabobs at 2009's Taste of South Routt in Oak Creek. This year's event is from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Decker Park in Oak Creek.

— There are a lot of ways to describe South Routt County, but an easy way to get a taste of the essence of the community would be to head to Decker Park in Oak Creek on Saturday.

"It's a very supportive community in that everyone takes care of each other," Julie Hoff said. "We're welcoming to new people, but we also try to keep the traditions alive."

This Saturday, that tradition is the 14th annual Taste of South Routt.

From noon to 6 p.m., about 25 vendors will be on hand showcasing the food, services and lifestyle that makes South Routt the tightly knit and diverse community that it is.

The event costs $1 to enter and is free for children younger than 5.

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Games, fundraisers and live music have long characterized the event, which is organized by the South Routt Economic Development Council.

Hoff, who is treasurer of the South Routt EDC and also chairwoman of the Taste of South Routt, said each vendor this year will have at least one menu item that costs $2.50 or less, encouraging patrons to try a "taste" of everything.

"It's a fabulous event that's basically a celebration of everything South Routt has to offer," she said. "And it's also an opportunity for a lot of South Routt businesses to thank the community that supports them."

John Grout, owner of the Oak Restaurant, said Saturday will mark his third Taste of South Routt. He'll be busy during the next few days perfecting his giant soft pretzels and summer lemonades, but he said the event is more about giving back than enticing customers with his treats.

"Mostly, we use it as a thank you for supporting us through the year," Grout said. "Especially this year."

In true South Routt character, Grout will be donating all of the proceeds from his Taste of South Routt food sales to the Voorhis family to benefit Abby, a first-grader with leukemia.

"We're a real tight community," said Grout, president of the South Routt EDC. "We like to help each other and reach out as much as we can. That's what we're planning on doing just to show our community spirit and support."

And as a business owner, he said the event offers him a chance to have a "captive audience" inside the gates of the park that is intent on sampling the best of South Routt.

Hoff said that audience will get more than their fill.

"I think it's important for everybody to get a sense of not only what businesses and service and products we have available," Hoff said. "But I think it's important to get a sense of what community is like."

In addition to the venders, which feature food, arts and crafts, nonprofits and other local businesses, three local acts will provide live music throughout the afternoon. A trio of high school students, Basically Sound, kicks off at 1 p.m.; solo acoustic musician Todd Musselman goes on at 3 p.m.; and new bluegrass act Old River Road goes on at 4:30 p.m.

There will be a horseshoe tournament, a volleyball serving contest and the Historical Society will raffle off a quilt as a fundraiser.

The funds from the entrance fee as well as from a silent auction will go to the EDC, which provides high school scholarships and funds local projects, Hoff said.

Hoff said she's looking forward to being with the rest of the community and enjoying what the National Weather Service forecasts to be a sunny day in Oak Creek.

"I love that I can see almost everyone in South Routt County in one day," she said. "I get to talk to just about everyone I know. And everyone's usually really happy to just hang out and be together."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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