Diversity And Disney At The 21st Annual Taste of Anaheim

Posted: May 17, 2016 in Beer, Dessert, Drinks, Events, Food, Music, Orange County, Restaurant
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When one business or organization defines a city, local businesses tend to have a tough time solidifying a name for themselves without piggybacking on that entity or other local marketing media. For example, any hope of business flourishing in Buena Park will quickly get overtaken by Knott’s Berry Farm, hence why a Taste of West OC featured Knott’s food as the majority of participants. Elsewhere, everyone regards New Orleans for Mardi Gras without a second thought to anything else. Back in California, if you travel to Anaheim, you will see Disney Disney Disney everywhere. Face it – Disney practically owns Anaheim. This comes off as a shame, as many tremendous local establishments call Anaheim home, and manage great business out of Anaheim. Without strong marketing, they would simply get lost in the sea of Disney media. Leave it to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce to pool everything together so guests can experience all of Anaheim, Disney included, in their annual Taste of Anaheim.

Returning to the Anaheim GardenWalk this year, the 21th Annual Taste of Anaheim took off last Thursday evening. This mega event covered the entire northern portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests could enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale and $45 at the door, all attendees received admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees could sample all the food they could handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more.

The front section of the second floor held the silent auction and the VIP lounge.

The Taste did not discriminate in which businesses to invite. Traditionally, a Taste of ______ should focus on the local flavor, not corporate businesses. Unfortunately, for as many great local establishments that Anaheim hosts, even more corporate businesses run Anaheim, especially Disney. Like any festival, those with money always get placed at the front, which explains the corporate restaurants greeting guests as they entered.

After browsing through all the participating businesses at Taste of Anaheim, one could almost call this a Taste of Disney & Friends, as Disney took up most of the space. Can a city continue to live under a notion that one entity represents the entire city? When you have great local establishments like Slater’s 50/50, Noble Ale Works, Anaheim Brewery, Umami Burger, and more, why settle to puff the space up with corporates that operate only for themselves and not the locals? Sometimes, event planners need to scale back and plan smaller, more intimate events. By hosting a smaller food fest consisting of only local establishments and no corporates, visitors can truly receive a taste of the city. For example, if I traveled up to San Francisco for a food fest, I would want to try food from restaurants only found there, not from standard corporates like Hooters or Buca Di Beppo. I suppose that if a corporate donates enough money, they can earn a good spot in the food fest, which explains California Pizza Kitchen’s position at the front of this food fest. Because of this, I always advise visitors to start from the back, since most attendees start from the front, where the corporate vendors usually set up, whereas local vendors set up in the back. Regardless of this all, I still enjoyed my time at the Taste of Anaheim, as I got to try lots of great food and talk to lots of great people. Always stay on the lookout for local businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.


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