Taste of the Valley showcases Eau Claire area restaurants

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If there is one thing people come together for, it is food.

Phoenix Park had no shortage of that Sunday as the community came out to the ‘Taste of the Valley’.

Derek Smith brought his family out to ‘Taste of the Valley’ today and said if not for this event, they may not try many new foods.

There is a lot of food to try that we wouldn’t normally probably try or even think about trying.

Smith and his family had plenty of options to choose from. The ‘Taste of the Valley’ brought out many barbecue restaurants, a donut shop and food trucks just to name a few.

Carl Hartkemeyer owns BBQ Express in Chippewa Falls and Lake Hallie. He says ‘Taste of the Valley’ is about showing off your product and making connections with potential customers.

We bring some of our unique menu items to play. Obviously barbecue is our strength, but we also have quite a few years of experience, that gives us a lot of different items that we can bring to bear, he said. This is only the first step, after this is over you’ve got to go talk to people and get new customers.

Along with great food, ‘Taste of the Valley’ featured local musicians as the entertainment. There was even a kid’s zone that offered all kinds of activities for kids. There was also a community coloring event that gave people a chance to color sections from the Eau Claire coloring book and post them in one big picture.

David Shaurette is the ‘Taste of the Valley’ chair. He said the event is for everyone in the community.

If you’re on the fence about coming to ‘Taste of the Valley’, don’t be. We have something for the whole family and admission is free to the park.

Most importantly, the event gave the community a chance to see what the Chippewa Valley has to offer and how the Eau Claire riverfront area has developed over time.

We were just discussing how amazed we are at how much it’s changed, even in the last few years. None of this was here. It’s impressive, said Smith.

The money raised from the event go directly to the Chippewa Valley After Hours Rotary Club’s mission of eradicating hunger in the Chippewa Valley.

And as for the Smiths, they seem to have found a new favorite.

This is the first one we’ve eaten, and he’s really enjoyed the ahi tacos, said Liz Smith. 

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