More than 800 people were expected to dine and dance along the shore of Lake Lanier on Saturday evening at the 15th annual A Taste of Gainesville.
The event is the largest fundraiser for the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, with proceeds going to help purchase club equipment and maintain the Lake Lanier Olympic venue for the many people who use it each year.
This year, 35 local Gainesville and Northeast Georgia restaurants participated in A Taste of Gainesville, hoping to give something back to the community that supports their businesses year-round. Attendees could sample everything from pizza and pasta to desserts and wine.
Carla De Lorenza, a local Gainesville resident, had come out to this year’s A Taste of Gainesville after having a great experience at past year’s events.
“I can never choose a favorite table,” said De Lorenza of the multitude of restaurants handing out their samples of food at different table stations. “The thing I love most is that this food they bring to Taste of Gainesville is just as good as what you would good if you walked into their restaurants. They don’t skimp out on what they offer.”
Therese Sylvester, member of Lake Lanier Rowing Club and one of this year’s event organizers, said this was a chance for restaurants that are supported by the business brought in by the Olympic venue to show their appreciation.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. You can’t get a more beautiful setting than this,” said Sylvester. “This is such a great community event.”
In addition to the food being offered, music from Walter Biel and the Chattahoochee Cannibals topped off the laid-back, lakeside setting.
“I will definitely be coming back next year,” said Sam Parsons, who attended his first Taste of Gainesville.
Although Parsons has only lived in Hall County for three months, he said this was his time to get to know his neighbors and sample some of the local favor.
“I came to this because I wanted to meet other people and get more involved with the community. This has been great fun so far, and I’ll be back,” he said.
For the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, which uses the venue for many of its club activities, the fact that the event is held at the former Olympic location provides a lot of meaning and purpose for the work that goes into getting each event organized and pulled off.
“We want to keep the Olympic spirit alive here,” Sylvester said.