Two elements combine to make the Taste of Downtown the compelling event it has become.
One is the good cause for which it raises money -- the Advocates to End Domestic Violence. This is one of those groups that would very much like to stay out of the spotlight, if only domestic abuse weren't such a serious and prevalent problem in society today.
So Advocates makes one big splash a year, selling 1,500 tickets at $30 apiece for a chance to sample the fare of 26 Carson City restaurants and 11 bands. Then it goes back to the job of counseling, aiding and sheltering abuse victims -- mostly women and children -- every day of the year. It's OK if you want to help and contribute the rest of the time, but Taste of Downtown has become the pinnacle for Advocates.
In its ninth year now, Taste of Downtown has also become a pinnacle for downtown Carson City.
Far more than the 1,500 who bought tickets were out celebrating Saturday evening, proving to us that Carson City residents really want to enjoy their downtown and will do so if given a good reason.
The truth is, there are many good reasons to treat yourself to downtown Carson City on any given night, especially in the summertime. With special events like Run What Cha Brung this weekend, concerts like the Fridays@Third series due to begin in a couple of weeks, Brewery Arts Center-related events like the Capital Concert series in Mills Park, regular offerings in bars, restaurants, casinos .... to name just a few.
When downtown is buzzing, like it was Saturday night, there is optimism in the air. Coming months will see a few more of the gaps filled in, like Devincenzi's restaurant in the St. Charles, the transformation of the Lucky Spur and the reawakening of the Ormsby House.
If you missed Taste of Downtown, there's always next year. In the meantime, make a point of patronizing the businesses pumping life into the heart of Carson City.