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Taste of Southfield grows in magnitude, sophistication

September 26, 2012

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Stephanie Strong of Hazel Park brought her homemade gourmet cupcakes she offers through her company, Fancy Schmancy Cupcakes, to last year’s A Taste of Southfield.

SOUTHFIELD — It’s an event Southfield residents, business owners and local foodies have come to know over the past few years.

A Taste of Southfield, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual event, is back 5-8 p.m. Oct. 2 for its eighth year now, and it’s being kicked up a notch for the 2012 bash.

“This year will be bigger and better,” said Chamber President Tanya Marko-Vannos. While the event that shows off the best of the Southfield-area’s dining usually draws in 150, the chamber and planning committee are looking at having up to 250 people this year.

And the event will have a brand-new vibe.

“We want it to be a very sexy event,” Marko-Vannos said, likening A Taste of Southfield to Hour Detroit’s annual “Best of” event. “We really want it to be about engaging the city more with high-profile entertainment and cuisine.”

The “scene” will include more than 25 exhibitors — a quarter of which are new this year, she added — with an island band playing calypso reggae in the background, strolling entertainers and a professional photographer catching local socialites in action.

“We really just want this event, even with limited funds, to be kicked up a notch and then grow again next year. Not to mention, the venue this year is beautiful. We don’t have to do a lot with décor there,” she said of the Town Center Atrium.

The event will draw in Southfield eateries and chefs showing off their skills, along with a few exhibitors from around the area. The idea is to show off the commerce and cuisine found around town and make Southfield a destination for dining.

Event Co-chair Karen Washington said that Southfield is a “premier business address” in the area, but this event can be used as a platform to show off the city’s cultural fabric while offering food, socializing and music.

Marko-Vannos added that she believes it will entice people to seek entertainment and new cuisine in Southfield — something the chamber continually works on.

“We’re trying to highlight restaurants and get people into these restaurants. Because this area is a business district, people are here 8-5, so how do we get people inside Southfield after 5 p.m.? We show them what’s here,” she said, adding that the vision is for couples and families to come out during the evening and on weekends.

The underlying theme to A Taste of Southfield this year will be the city’s cultural diversity, explained Chairman Doug Davis.

Networking opportunities will be another highlight, as well as raffle prizes and restaurant gift certificates.

Tickets to A Taste of Southfield cost $15, and event proceeds benefit the chamber and Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.  For more information, call (248) 557-6661.

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