Food and beverage lovers descended on the Lion’s Head Pub in Robson for the Taste of Castlegar on Saturday, Sept. 28. The event, organized by the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce, showcased the offerings from local restaurants, breweries and wineries.
“We have 18 vendors,” said Tammy Verigin-Burk, executive director of the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce. “We had a couple of others who were going to come but they just sold their businesses, so they couldn’t make it. The weather hasn’t hampered people at all. Everyone’s still showing up and we’re still selling tickets at the door.”
Most of the attendees paid little attention to the rain and huddled under tents where intoxicating smells lingered in the cool air. There were plenty of satisfied faces and expressions of enjoyment as attendees tucked into dish after tasty dish.
“Right now I’m eating some Twisted Thyme buffalo chile and warming up by the fire,” said attendee Ida Price. “It was a good thing they had a [bon]fire going because it’s a little bit of a cold day but it’s nice and fun. I’m enjoying it and hope they do it again.”
Asked if the event was an annual possibility, Verigin-Burk answered in the affirmative and said they were already discussing changes to keep things interesting.
“We’re looking at doing it as a rotation so it can go to anyone who wants to have it in their parking lot,” she said. “The one thing we don’t want to do is conflict with other events going on, that’s why we thought the fall would be great.”
“I think it’s awesome that all of these businesses came out to support the Chamber,” said Shirley Henderson, owner of the local A&W. “The weather is kind of crappy but all-in-all the music is great and you can taste what all the restaurants are offering and you can have a glass of beer or wine; it’s perfect.”
“It’s awesome,” said Al McLeod, Nelson Brewing’s sales and marketing person. “Castlegar has always been good to us. We’ve been in business for 22 years now and we’ve always done well here. We’re trying our organic Pumpkin Ale today. We did a limited run of 1,000 cases which sold out in three days and so this is what we had left.”
Troy Pyett, who has owned the Lion’s Head with his wife Carly Hadfield since 2009, described all of the food being served as amazing, singling out the butter chicken from Cuisine of India as one example, and said he was particularly happy to see the Kootenays embracing craft beer and local food.
“I’d like to see the event outgrow this place, which would mean it was successful and goes everywhere else. It’s nice to see the community come together. It wasn’t about us, we just have the facility to hold a different style of event here. We really believe in local [products]. We try to do that as much as we can.”
Wanita Hunter-Oglow of Castlegar Meal delivery, had a tent set up with a number of mouth-watering dishes including chile, chicken souvlaki, and yam-quinoa salad.
“I started out with the idea of doing a meal delivery service for seniors, shut-in, those recovering from surgeries that couldn’t do meal preparation for themselves but wanted healthy choices that weren’t high in saturated fats or sodium,” she said. “But I ended up doing a lot more catering. I do business luncheons, corporate luncheons and board meetings.”
Hunter-Oglow said the event was a great chance to see what everyone else offers around town.
Tammy Uppal, owner of the Cuisine of India, said her aforementioned butter chicken and rice was almost half gone by the time we spoke with her shortly after 4:30 p.m.
“I love participating in the community programs,” she said, adding that the butter chicken was the perfect choice for the weather. “You will see us here again.”
There was no shortage of entertainment on the day, either, as Leeza Perahudoff, Cindy Onyett, Ray Bouliane, Moates and Oats, That Girl and Earl were followed later in the pub by the Rippin’ Rattlers.