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Wednesday, April 10,2013

Favorite flavor

Annual event spotlights sites, tastes of Old Town

by Dana Casadei
Sir Pizza is one of the stops on this weekend\'s Taste and Tour of Old Town event. Photo by Sam Inglot

Wednesday, April 10 — This Saturday, at the sixth annual Taste and Tour of Old Town, you can get acclimated to the trendy Lansing district through all five of your senses.

"I grew up in East Lansing, and I never knew half the stuff I know today about Old Town," said Louise Gradwohl, Executive Director at the Old Town Commercial Association, who organized the event. "It's such a vibrant district."

Parts of the city's vibrancy will be showcased through nine participating food vendors and eight residential lofts that visitors will be able to tour.

"We wanted to be a part of the community to bring people in and give them a taste of what we have," said Sir Pizza Grand Caf' manager Danielle Admire. She said that participating in the event enables her to see lots of new faces, many of whom come back year after year.

Katalyst Gallery owner Sarah Christiansen said that she gets more clients on a Taste and Tour Saturday than on a typical one, and she's not the only one.

"As far as I know it happens to be very beneficial to all of the businesses that are down here," she said. “I think it exposes it to people that wouldn't normally shop down here.”

For those who have been to the event in previous years, there will be some noted changes, with Gradwohl saying they wanted to add a “new twist.” One change is the added element of live music this year. Three Michigan bands — Desmond Jones, The Distorted Waltz and The Bard Owls — will be performing in Turner Mini Park.

“I think that's another thing to keep people excited about coming back,” Gradwohl said.

Those who pay in advance will get seven vouchers to use at the food vendors, with extra vouchers available for purchase. While people get a taste, literally and figuratively, of Old Town, they will also be able to check out the local businesses.

"I think (local businesses) enjoy it because they get to talk to people that come from outside the area that may never have engaged with their business or restaurant before," Gradwohl said. "This is a chance for them to really shine."

Taste and Tour of Old Town
Noon-5 p.m. Saturday
$15, $5 children ages 6-12, FREE children 5 and under
OTCA Office, 1232 Turner St., Lansing
iloveoldtown.org

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