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A full plate of recipes and rowing
Nighttime regatta added to Taste of Gainesville event at Olympic venue
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Taste of Gainesville and Lanier Night Sprints

When: Taste of Gainesville, 6-9 p.m.; Lanier Night Sprints, 8-10:30 p.m. Saturday

How much: $25 in advance; $35 Saturday; age 9 and younger free

More info: 770-287-0077, website 

A unique combination of a sampling of local restaurants and a rowing competition will comprise this year's Taste of Gainesville and Lanier Night Sprints, set for Saturday at the Lake Lanier Olympic venue in Gainesville.

Lake Lanier Rowing Club office manager Lauren Pickens said last year's Taste of Gainesville drew between 400 and 500 people.

"Every year we have a number of restaurants from the area. We have some coming from as far as Dahlonega," Pickens said.

"Everything from regular restaurants like Chick-Fil-A to fine dining restaurants like The Oar House and Grapes and Hops, and we also have dessert places like The Fudge Factory," she said.

Pickens said the restaurants will each have a table, and, "they just hand out their specialties and whatever they decided to bring that evening, and you can go around and eat as much as you want."

Proceeds from the event will benefit the rowing club and allow it to continue its community outreach programs, which Pickens said will hopefully soon include an adaptive rowing program for disabled rowers.

She said one ticket will get you into both events.

"You get into the Taste of Gainesville. You can eat and then hang around later for the regatta that starts at 8," she said.

The regatta, which will include rowers from high school, college and adult teams, will be "a very cool event," Pickens said, adding that colored lights and spotlights will illuminate the water during the event.

"We're actually doing a nighttime 500-meter sprint race, so it's kind of a splash-and-dash kind of event," she said.

Club executive director Jim Pickens "really wanted to put on an event that would draw people from outside our region that would really be a destination regatta," Lauren Pickens said.

She said prizes will be offered at the regatta, which is rare for such events.

Prizes will include "T-shirts (and) different rowing-related equipment," Pickens said.