'Tasters' fill downtown

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal  Kerry and Marta Garcia of Carson City eat their sample from Ole Ole Mexican Restaurant & Cantina at the Taste of Downtown.

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal Kerry and Marta Garcia of Carson City eat their sample from Ole Ole Mexican Restaurant & Cantina at the Taste of Downtown.

Burning Man has its burners, but Carson City has them beat with its tasters - people who fill the streets of downtown each June to sample what the city has to offer in the way of food, music and shopping.

The 18th annual event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Advocates to End Domestic Violence, and the event has grown substantially since its early days, drawing 2,000 ticket holders, as well thousands more people who come out just for the fun, said Advocates Director Lisa Lee.

Voted as the best annual event in the Nevada Appeal's Reader's Choice survey, the event offered ticket holders food samples from 30 restaurants, as well as music from seven bands. In addition, more than 20 downtown shops participated with their own raffles and


For Brenda Crowley, the Taste was a chance to do something good while having fun.

"I thought I'd go because it was for a good cause, that's what attracted me - and I've had some really great food already," Crowley said.

Stephanie Laurie was more enthusiastic.

"I love it. It's great to just to see the crowd and the people I haven't seen in a long time, plus you get to see all these businesses - and when else are you ever going to be able to hit 30 restaurants in one night?" she said.

Natalie Bourgeois had another reason for attending.

"I used to work at Stew's, so for the last few years, I worked this event," Bourgeois said. "Tonight I actually get to do it - I actually get to have the fun."

Meanwhile, Benjamin Spence was serving Ahi BLTs and Asian slaw from Mo & Sluggo's Grill.

"This sandwich is the best-kept secret in Carson," he said. "It's quite possibly the most delicious thing you'll put in your mouth all day long."

Terri Farnworth, who works for Advocates, said she was just grateful the wind stopped before the event started.

"We had a couple of little glitches getting going, but everyone is so happy. That's what I like," Farnworth said.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong called the Taste of Downtown "huge."

"This event is very important to us, and I'll do anything I can to help them out," Furlong said. "We've got 20 staff here tonight, mostly reserves, just to make sure people don't get hurt crossing the streets, and that everyone keeps having fun."

The goal of Advocates to End Domestic Violence is to try to keep people in their homes, where possible. However, when not possible, the organization will help them start over, which includes temporary shelter and household items from the organization's Classy Seconds Thrift Store.

The Advocates shelter is the largest for victims in Northern Nevada, with 51 beds and the ability to accommodate a variety of family situations.

Lee said the fundraiser helps pay for support services and other needs of the organization and shelter.


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