Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Returning to the Anaheim GardenWalk for its 22nd year, the Taste of Anaheim took off last Thursday evening. This annual event covers most of the 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. Due to the House of Blues relocating from Downtown Disney to here, all of the walkways leading to it had to remain open to the public, so the space normally taken up by the Taste of Anaheim went away. As a result, the Taste of Anaheim had to condense the participating businesses into less space for this year’s event. For $40 presale or $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.

After browsing through all the participating businesses at Taste of Anaheim, one could almost call this a Taste of Disney & Friends, as Disney generally takes up most of the space. Can a city continue to live under a notion that one business entity represents the entire city? When you have great local establishments like Slater’s 50/50, Noble Ale Works, Anaheim Brewery, The Ranch, and more, why settle to puff the space up with corporate entities 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 corporate entities, 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 corporate entities 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 Bubba Gump Shrimp Company’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.

The 22nd Annual Taste of Anaheim returns to the Anaheim GardenWalk this Thursday evening. This mega event covers an entire portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests can enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale or $45 at the door, all attendees receive free parking and admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees can sample all the food they can handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more. The entrance to the tasting area starts at the center of the GardenWalk, and the event covers the entire northern section.

  • Once attendees get past the entrance gate, the restaurants will start to line up, set up tables, and serve their food and/or drinks.
  • A silent auction typically takes place at the Taste of Anaheim. Items mainly include gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies. The location of the silent auction changes every year, as it could happen near the back, or near the front.
  • Once past this initial entrance area, guests enter the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and stages for the bands.
  • While guests will find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses generally take up residence downstairs toward the back, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works.
  • Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here may include local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney takes up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney.
  • Though the lineup of participating businesses will certainly change since last year, the general setup and structure will remain the same. Guests will find most of the food upstairs, while guests will find other things downstairs, such as more places to sit, the music stage, non-food vendors, guest services, and more.

Although the Taste of Anaheim usually has more Disney establishments present than anything else, this event still has great local establishments. If you do go to this event, spend more time with the local businesses as opposed to the corporate businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

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.

The 21st Annual Taste of Anaheim returns to the Anaheim GardenWalk this Thursday evening. This mega event covers an entire portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests can enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale or $45 at the door, all attendees receive free parking and admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees can sample all the food they can handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more. The entrance to the tasting area starts at the center of the GardenWalk, and the event covers the entire northern section.

Once attendees get past the entrance gate, the restaurants will start to line up, set up tables, and serve their food and/or drinks.

A silent auction typically takes place at the Taste of Anaheim. Items mainly include gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies. The location of the silent auction changes every year, as it could happen near the back, or near the front.

Once past this initial entrance area, guests enter the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and stages for the bands.

While guests will find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses generally take up residence downstairs toward the back, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works.

Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here may include local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney takes up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney.

Though the lineup of participating businesses will certainly change since last year, the general setup and structure will remain the same. Guests will find most of the food upstairs, while guests will find other things downstairs, such as more places to sit, the music stage, non-food vendors, guest services, and more.

Although the Taste of Anaheim usually has more Disney establishments present than anything else, this event still has great local establishments. If you do go to this event, spend more time with the local businesses as opposed to the corporate businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

The 20th Annual Taste of Anaheim returns to the Anaheim GardenWalk this Thursday evening. This mega event covers an entire portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests can enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale or $45 at the door, all attendees receive free parking and admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees can sample all the food they can handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more. The entrance to the tasting area starts at the center of the GardenWalk, and the event covers the entire northern section.

Once attendees get past the entrance gate, the restaurants will start to line up, set up tables, and serve their food and/or drinks.

A silent auction typically takes place at the Taste of Anaheim. Items mainly include gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies. The location of the silent auction changes every year, as it could happen near the back, or near the front.

Once past this initial entrance area, guests enter the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and stages for the bands.

While guests will find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses generally take up residence downstairs toward the back, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works.

Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here may include local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney takes up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney.

Though the lineup of participating businesses will certainly change since last year, the general setup and structure will remain the same. Guests will find most of the food upstairs, while guests will find other things downstairs, such as more places to sit, the music stage, non-food vendors, guest services, and more.

Although the Taste of Anaheim usually has more Disney establishments present than anything else, this event still has great local establishments. If you do go to this event, spend more time with the local businesses as opposed to the corporate businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

The 19th Annual Taste of Anaheim returns to the Anaheim GardenWalk this Thursday evening. This mega event covers an entire portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests can enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale (this price ends TONIGHT) and $45 at the door, all attendees receive free parking and admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees can sample all the food they can handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more. The entrance to the tasting area starts at the center of the GardenWalk, and the event covers the entire northern section.

Once attendees get past the entrance gate, the restaurants will start to line up, set up tables, and serve their food and/or drinks.

A silent auction typically takes place at the Taste of Anaheim. Items mainly include gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies. The location of the silent auction changes every year, as it could happen near the back, or near the front, just like last year:

Once past this initial entrance area, guests enter the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and stages for the bands.

While guests will find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses generally take up residence downstairs toward the back, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works.

Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here may include local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney takes up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney.

Though the lineup of participating businesses will certainly change since last year, the general setup and structure will remain the same. Guests will find most of the food upstairs, while guests will find other things downstairs, such as more places to sit, the music stage, non-food vendors, guest services, and more.

Although the Taste of Anaheim usually has more Disney establishments present than anything else, this event still has great local establishments. If you do go to this event, spend more time with the local businesses as opposed to the corporate businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

The Dead Ships, Death Hymn Number 9, and Death Valley Girls @ The Roxy
8:30 pm – 2:00 am, August 7
The Roxy, West Hollywood
http://grimygoods.com/2013/07/24/grimy-goods-presents-the-dead-ships-death-hymn-number-9-death-valley-girls-at-the-roxy-aug-7/

Famous Deads come to The Roxy this Wednesday night for a wold night of rock & roll and partying, as The Dead Ships, Death Hymn No. 9, and Death Valley Girls play this show. In addition, adult film star April O’Neil will DJ between sets. As a motorcycle themed show, any guest riding a motorcycle will not only enjoy free parking, but will enter the show for just $3. All other guests can enter for $5.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 8
Downtown Los Angeles
http://downtownartwalk.org/

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

2013 D23 Expo
9:00 am – 8:00 pm, August 9-10
9:00 am – 6:30 pm, August 11
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim
http://d23.com/d23-expo/

The world’s largest Disney expo returns this weekend to the Anaheim Convention Center. Situated just across the street from the Disneyland Resort, tens of thousands of Disney fans from around the world travel here to find all things Disney here, from merchandise vendors to autograph sessions to costume contests and more. Attendees may also catch a sneak preview at Disney’s new upcoming animated movie, Frozen. One-day admission for non-D23 members costs $57 for adults and $47 for children 12 and under. A weekend pass for non-D23 members costs $166 for adults and $136 for children 12 and under. I HIGHLY recommend early arrival – with so many people trying to get in, expect to wait in long lines if arriving mid-day. Parking will cost a pretty penny – consider getting dropped off, or park in the neighborhoods to the west.

26th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival
5:00 pm – 10:30 pm, August 9
11:00 am – 10:30 pm, August 10-11
Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach
http://www.longbeachjazzfestival.com/

Soak in the sun with classy R&B and jazz music this weekend in Long Beach. Discover the best in local music under the sun in the park by the beach, and check out the local food and art also available at this all-ages fest. Admission varies based on attendance method, with rates starting at $55. Parking in nearby lots and structures cost $10 per vehicle – consider parking in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Avenue to circumvent parking fees.

Brew at the Zoo
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 9
Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles
http://lazoo.org/brew/

This craft beer fest at the Los Angeles Zoo will allow you to drink while exhibiting the animals. Also expect to see comedians, DJs, bands, vendors, and more. Admission costs $45 presale, and includes fourteen 4.5oz beer tasters and entry into the park to look at the animals.

MDC, Opposition Rising, Wartorn, and more @ The Other Place
7:00 pm – 1:30 am, August 9
The Other Place, Anaheim
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/417230

Legendary hardcore punk band Millions of Dead Cops (MDC) currently tour throughout the US and Australia, and that tour comes through Southern California this weekend and again in two weeks. Catch them and a handful of other great local punk bands this Friday night at The Other Place. This all-ages show cost $9 to get in, and comes with a full bar for guests 21 and over.

Surf Guitar Convention & Festival
8:00 am – 8:00 pm, August 10
The Starting Gate, Los Alamitos
http://surfguitar101.com/convention/HOME.html

Come see lots of surf music bands perform this benefit show. This all-day all-ages show costs $30 to attend.

8th Annual Cardiff Dog Days of Summer
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, August 10
Cardiff Town Center, Cardiff
http://www.cardiffdogdaysofsummer.com/

Want a little exercise, socialization, and bonding with your dog? Come enjoy dog contests, custom pet products and animal adoptions. Vendors will display the latest dog products and much more. San Diego County’s largest dog-centric event draws thousands attendees from all over San Diego to see over 200 vendors, dog contests, live music, food, an agility course, a doggie photo booth, doggie crafts and a large silent auction. Completely free to attend for all ages, attendees should park at or near Encinitas City Hall and take the free shuttle.

81st Annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, August 10-11
Granada Launch Ramp, Long Beach
http://lbsandcastle.com/

This contest to build a unique and fascinating sand sculpture takes place over two days this weekend. Most of the building will take place on Saturday, with Sunday allocated mainly to spectators. All participants will get featured in local media, such as The Press Telegram. Interested individuals and/or teams may register for FREE, and all participants and spectators will find vendors, live music, food, and a kids’ area on both days.

2013 Reptile Super Show
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, August 10
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 11
Fairplex, Pomona
http://reptilesupershow.com/

Check out all things reptiles and amphibians at this weekend expo at the Fairplex in Pomona. Open to all ages, attendees will find reptiles, amphibians, turtles, supplies, cages, lights, supplements, educational workshops, and more. Admission costs $14 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under. Parking costs $10 per vehicle – guests must enter through blue gate 9, located on White Avenue south of Arrow Hwy.

Summer Sun & Art Fest
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, August 10
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, August 11
The Pike, Downtown Long Beach
http://laydbackproductions.com/?page_id=26

This weekend, guests of all ages can find juried fine arts, contemporary crafts, handcrafted items, entertainment, delectable edibles, unique offerings, and more all at The Pike in Downtown Long Beach, completely free to attend.

2013 South Bay Food Fest
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm, August 10
StubHub Center, Carson
http://supergourmetfoodtruckjam.weebly.com/

Check out over 25 of Southern California’s top gourmet food trucks all in one location, accompanied by live music and plenty of kids’ activities. This all-ages fest costs $10 presale and $12 at the door, and includes free parking. All food comes at cost, so bring plenty of cash to munch on food all day.

Mitsuwa Summer Festival
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, August 10-11
Mitsuwa Marketplace, Torrance
http://mitsuwa.com/event/eevent.php?e=36

Come experience Japanese culture over the weekend! Completely FREE to attend for all ages, visitors will find games, arts, crafts, food, music, dance, karaoke, and more. Mitsuwa Marketplace will remain open for regular business during this time as well.

The Full Pint 6th Anniversary Celebration
7:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 10
38 Degrees Ale House & Grill, Alhambra
http://thefullpint.com/events/tfp6/

This beer fest will bring out the big guns, as The Full Pint brings out all the rare beers that attendees can handle. A VIP session starts at 5pm, but has already sold out. General admission starts at 7pm and costs $10 to enter – from there, attendees will pay for beer as they go, and each beer will vary in price. Downtown Alhambra provides plenty of options for free parking, so avoid paying for parking around here.

Art Crawl Experience
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 10
Center Street Promenade, Downtown Anaheim
http://www.downtownanaheim.com/artcrawlexperience

Downtown Anahiem will see a variety of activities and exhibits this Saturday night. Visitors can expect to find tons of art exhibits, live music, food, food trucks, drinks, yoga, dance, and more. Visitors may park for free in the parking structure located at S Clementine Street and W Oak Street.

The Dirty Little Secrets – Girls On Film
10:00 pm – 11:30 pm, August 10
Malones Bar & Grill, Santa Ana
http://www.facebook.com/events/218527238299591/

The sexy vixens from the Dirty Little Secrets return this Saturday night with their Girls On Film show. Catch them performing at 10:00 and 11:00 this night. No one under 21 may enter. This bar requires a variable cover charge. When entering, mention that you want to see the Dirty Little Secrets.

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show
5:00 am – 2:00 pm, August 11
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.pomonaswapmeet.com/

See thousands of original and restored classic cars at the Fairplex this Sunday morning. Many of the vendors will also sell automotive accessories, parts, and more as well. This all-ages show cost $10 to enter, while children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Parking costs $10 per vehicle – guests must enter via gate 17 on Fairplex Drive, directly off the 10 freeway.

17th Annual Chula Vista Lemon Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 11
Third Avenue Village, Chula Vista
http://www.thirdavenuevillage.com/events/lemon-festival-0

This street fair in Chula Vista will have food, arts & crafts, live music, dance, entertainment, and lemons everywhere. Completely free to attend for all ages, visitors should park in the neighborhoods south of 3rd Avenue.

Blue Palms Brewhouse 5th Anniversary Celebration
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, August 11
Blue Palms Brewhouse, Los Angeles
http://bluepalmsbrewhouse.com/5.html

Blue Palms Brewhouse turns five this week, and would like to invite you to join in on the festivities! Admission costs $45 presale and $50 at the door, and comes with ten 5oz beer tasters, a souvenir glass, and food while it lasts. Attendees may purchase additional beer pours if desired.

2013 Ecuadorian Festival & Parade
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, August 12
Olvera Street, Los Angeles
http://www.festivals.com/viewevent.aspx?eventid=QFxVv8b6HcA%3D

The parade starts at 11am on Broadway & 8th St, goes north on Broadway until Temple St, then turns on Main St, ending at Olvera Street. The parade will have cars, dancers, drill teams, beauty queens, and other businesses. Olvera Street will have Ecuadorian food, arts & crafts, music, vendors, free health screenings, lots of free gifts, games, and a variety of products, services and information provided by all type of exhibitors.

29th Annual Hillcrest CityFest
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 11
5th & University, Hillcrest, San Diego
http://fabuloushillcrest.com/events/hillcrest-cityfest/

Have fun at this street fair in Hillcrest this Sunday with games, activities, vendors, live music, food, a beer garden, and more. Free to attend for all ages, visitors should park at the San Diego School District Building on the east side of Hillcrest.

Ballast Point 17th Anniversary Celebration
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, August 11
Maritime Museum, San Diego
http://www.ballastpoint.com/ballastpoint17anniversary/

Ballast Point Brewing turns 17 soon, and would like to invite you to come celebrate with them! At the San Diego Maritime Museum this Sunday afternoon, guests can find all things Ballast Point, as they enjoy their drinks aboard historic ships and submarines. Ballast Point will provide over 40 different beers, which will include rare beers and some unreleased beers. Live music will play on multiple stages throughout the venue. Local food vendors will also set up for guests that get hungry, although food comes at its own price. Admission to this one of a kind beer fest costs $40, which includes full admission to the museum, fifteen 3oz beer tasters, and a souvenir glass. No one under 21 may attend.

Cruise the Pike Classic Car Show
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, August 11
The Pike, Downtown Long Beach
http://laydbackproductions.com/?page_id=4234

Come on down to The Pike this Sunday afternoon and enjoy art and cars on the grassy knoll! Spectators of all ages can attend for free. Anyone interested in showcasing their classic car in this show must register their vehicle for $15 prior to the event or $20 on the day of.

Litmus Green, Rum Rebellion, Absinthe Rose, and more @ The Other Place
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 11
The Other Place, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/519830964730933/

Bring back the holidays with this international punk rock show, featuring folk punk, celtic punk, pirate punk, hardcore punk, and other off-punk bands. This all-ages show costs only $3 to enter for those 21 and over, and $6 for everyone else 20 and under.

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 18th 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 $35 presale and $40 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. Unlike last year, this year saw fewer participating businesses, evident by the empty front section of the upstairs area.

With no limit to the amount of tickets sold, no one should feel surprised to witness the huge line entering the event:

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 this corporate restaurant greeting guests as they entered:

They only put out these Hush Puppies, which came out dry anyways. For a shrimp restaurant, you would expect to feast on shrimp; instead, guests got stuck with dry potato balls.

Immediately across from them, guests could receive their first dessert of the night: a piece of fudge with peanut butter cup ice cream from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. For another corporate participant, this refreshing treat hit the spot for this warm day.

Across from here, guests could enter a room housing the silent auction items. Items mainly included gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies.

Once past this room, guests entered the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and two stages for the bands.

While guests could find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses took up residence downstairs toward the back, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works, who released a keg of their limited milk stout Naughty Sauce.

Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here included local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney took up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney. Disney made quite a presence, serving up some of the more unique food, and receiving a lot of praise from attendees, based on me surveying random guests.

Some of my favorite foods include the spare ribs from Disney’s Storyteller’s Cafe, the turkey wellington from Sally Ann Catering, and the leg of lamb from The Ranch. For a warm evening, I alternated my time between Noble Ale downstairs and the frozen chillers upstairs, as Hangar 24 had such a long line that clogged up their section of the upstairs deck.

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, Chain Reaction, 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 Bubba Gump’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.