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Online voting to decide top dog at Taste of Tri-Cities

Staff Report • Jul 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM

KINGSPORT — Thirteen local restaurants will have fed visitors from approximately 20 states at Taste of Tri-Cities in Memorial Park between Wednesday and Saturday, July 20.

Sponsored by Bank of Tennessee and WKPT-TV, Taste of Tri-Cities provides a central venue for regional restaurants to spotlight some of their favorite menu items and to give visitors a flavor of area hospitality.

Community members stroll through the park before and during the sunset concerts with a variety of food options like kung pao chicken, lasagna, ribs, pork barbeque, ice cream and others to choose from.

For the first time, attendees may vote online at https://bankoftennessee.wufoo.com/forms/r7w7r7/ for their favorite restaurants to elect a People’s Choice Award winner.

“We’re really excited about the online voting because it’s always been a panel of judges that tells the community who the favorite is, whereas now, the community lets us know who the favorite is,” said Deanna Stamper, marketing and public relations specialist at Bank of Tennessee. “I think it’s important for people to tell us which one is their favorite, and that way, restaurants feel an empowerment from the community of the support when they get that win.”

Stamper said the winner will be announced either on Monday or Tuesday.

David and Debbie Watkins have been coming to Taste of Tri-Cities for decades and said it continues to grow and improve. David said the event speaks highly of the area because local restaurants take the time to set up and serve the community.

“We always look forward to the Taste,” said Debbie. “It’s always a lot of fun.”

This year, participating restaurants and businesses are Food City, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Fazoli’s, Ice Cream Stop, Dippin’ Dots, Molcajetes Mexican Grill, Ming Garden, Sagebrush Steakhouse, Petro’s, Fuji House, Marble Slab, Sweet and Savory, Pratt’s, and Chava’s Mexican Grill.

“I think it gets everybody together to get out and have fun and try something different,” said Ryan Bewley of Jersey Mike’s Subs on Eastman Road.

This Taste featured two mobile food trucks: Petro’s, and Savory and Sweet.

Stamper said this is a growing trend in festivals because of the convenience of essentially having an entire restaurant kitchen on wheels.

During inclement weather on Wednesday night and a heavy rainfall Thursday night, police urged people to take cover in their vehicles while the storm passed and had the area evacuated in a timely and organized manner.

A large line of people formed outside the stadium for the Chris Tomlin concert Thursday, despite previous weather conditions.

“I do want to give a big thanks to all of the Kingsport City Police officers, the sheriff’s office, the firemen, the EMS for all of the help that they did during the weather — the communication, and really making the community feel safe,” said Stamper.

Taste will continue through Saturday night at 9 p.m. beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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