About the Festival
The humble beginnings of the Taste of Kalamazoo can be traced back to 1985 in a downtown Kalamazoo parking lot affectionately known as Lot 9.
Originally called the "Taste of Downtown," the festival featured about a dozen downtown restaurants and was organized by local eateries such as Chaps on Main, Dionysis, and Oakley's. Oakley's management took over the event in the late 1980's until the restaurant unfortunately closed its doors in 1991. The management of Chaps on Main continued the event, renaming it the "Taste of Kalamazoo" and expanding the pool of participants to include restaurants from the wider Kalamazoo area. The coordinator back then - and even to this very day - is Wayne Deering, and the festival is still managed by Events, Inc. The "Taste," as it is now known by locals, had several non-profit sponsors through the 1990's. In 2015, Townsquare Media took on management of the festival with an aim to continue this community tradition while bringing in more local food vendors and exciting national entertainment. Profits from the event support the local charities in the community.
The event gradually grew each year, moving from the west part of Lot 9 to the east part, and then across the street to an unimproved lot. In 2000, the lot was improved and called the "Festival Site," although it was still disguised as a parking lot during the daylight. Then, in 2005, the now-famous parking lot was transformed into the current festival site - Arcadia Creek Festival Place, a 2.5 million dollar festival park funded by private dollars and managed by DKI Charities. The park is bordered by a reflection pond with an entrance bridge and a permanent brick and iron fence surrounding the grassy areas, playground, brick paved plaza and the crowning jewel of it all - a circular, covered pavilion and state-of-the-art performance stage. Arcadia Creek Festival Place has since become a renowned location for large-scale festival events as well as a destination sought out by entire families for leisurely enjoyment on beautiful summer afternoons.
The Taste and Brew of Kalamazoo is taking a hiatus after 30 years and will not take place in 2016...
Several large factors have led to this decision, but in the meantime, we encourage everyone to visit and support the local restaurants and food trucks in Kalamazoo that have been a part of the festival over the years. Check out the list of vendors to see a list of those who've been involved and support your local community!