In its 17th year, the goal remains the same for the Taste of Downtown Nashua — to get people to experience downtown through a unique pairing of businesses and restaurants — but this year’s event has been tweaked to keep event goers happy and their stomachs full.
“I’m most looking forward to people enjoying some of the new changes and also them really just being introduced to some of the new shops that have opened,” said Sue Butler, executive director of Great American Downtown, the organization that organizes the event. This year’s Taste of Downtown Nashua will be held on Main Street on Wednesday, June 1, from 6 to 9 p.m.
One addition to this year’s event will be “hot spots” where event goers will have an opportunity to win prizes by participating in such activities as a treasure hunt. Butler also noted that the premier participating restaurants will serve as anchor locations and be placed at the ends of the routes (north, south, east and west).
“Our overall goal is to get as many people downtown to the event and as many people into each business [as] we can,” she said. “The way to do that is to plan where those [premier] restaurants are going to be.”
The hours of the event are different from last year’s. Butler said it was decided to run the event for three straight hours, instead of in split “time zones” like last year, so that event goers will not feel rushed and will have time to stand in line.
“We want to take the anxiety out of the event so that people can go to as many places as their stomach will allow,” she said. In past years, event hours have also been split between dinner and dessert, which Butler said created a challenge because more restaurants were offering entrees than desserts.
As an additional perk, this year ticket holders will have an opportunity to participate in pre- and post-event cocktail hours, featuring drink specials, at many of the event’s participating restaurants. Beer, wine and whiskey samples will also be distributed throughout the event.
Butler noted she has seen a decrease in participating restaurants and businesses because many storefronts have shuttered their doors and others just needed to take a break from the event. Twenty eateries and shops have signed on for this year’s event, with newcomers including O’Brien’s Sports Bar and Buckwheat’s Gluten-free Bakery.
Butler decided to offer tickets at a discounted price ($25) throughout the month of May because she realizes that attending the event is not a necessity: “It’s something people do because it’s fun and they want to support downtown, but if people are deciding whether to buy groceries or attend a food tasting event, we don’t want to have to make that choice,” she said. “We want to acknowledge the fact that we understand that money is tight but would love to have people come down and experience the event.”
All proceeds from the event go to the town’s Fall Feast Week and Winter Holiday Stroll, both also organized by Great American Downtown.