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Taste Of Oakdale Draws Community
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Kristine Griesheimer, far right, and her friends hit the garlic lobster mashed potatoes offered by the Oakdale Golf and Country Club first and raved about the delicious sample, saying it was fantastic. Griesheimer said the Taste of Oakdale event held at the community center Tuesday evening, Aug. 30 was a terrific idea and she was glad she came. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

For the third straight year, the Taste of Oakdale sponsored by the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, enticed the community with the promise of delicious goodies prepared by local restaurants and food vendors as a healthy crowd converged on the community center Tuesday evening, Aug. 30 with one thing on their mind — food.
For $25 apiece, the 300 attendees were treated to a variety of sample-sized eats that quickly turned into enough food to satisfy for a full meal.
Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Mary Guardiola said, “There was a lot more food than last year. No one should’ve gone home hungry.”
One attendee, Kristine Griesheimer, exclaimed to a friend in response to the smorgasbord, “I don’t have enough hands!” and that was certainly the case for many people as they sampled everything from deli sandwiches to lobster mashed potatoes, then washed it down with a sample of local beers and wines or a refreshing iced tea.
There was even vodka samples, and judging by how popular that particular booth was, it must’ve been tasty.
For Griesheimer, this was her first time at the event but she was very pleased with the turnout as well as the fare.
“I wanted to see the different vendors and see what it was all about. This is absolutely a great idea to get all the different vendors under one roof. The garlic lobster mashed potatoes are definitely a hit!” said Griesheimer.
The Oakdale Golf and Country Club vendor booth was an instant hit with their fare, much like last year’s event but there was so much to sample that people were eager to move to the next vendor.
There were 24 vendors, more than last year’s event, and coordinators are hoping to see it grow even more as people catch on to what a great opportunity it is to get out there and show the community what’s available.
One new vendor, Firenze Ristorante, was another popular stop for attendees and word-of-mouth was spreading fast about their fare.
“It’s great,” remarked Mike Saravia, general manager for Firenze. “It’s very nice to be here and it seems a lot of people are enjoying themselves.”
Guardiola reported that patrons and vendors were very pleased with the event and that plans are already in the works for next year’s event. With the change in venue from the FES Hall to the community center, Guardiola said there’s plenty of room to grow.
From first time vendors to the usual suspects, everyone benefited from the event, said Guardiola.
“I talked to several people who discovered new places to eat and that’s what it’s all about. A lot of people said they were glad that places, such as Café Bliss, were there because they’d forgotten they were in town.”
While the event isn’t a money-maker, so to speak, Guardiola said the benefit is to the community and the local businesses.
“The more people know about what’s right here in town, the more money will be spent locally,” she said. “And that’s what the Chamber is about — promoting local business.”