In a throwback event, The Taste has been revitalized by Downtown Hays Development Corp., giving residents a chance to enjoy food and beverages in downtown Hays from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 23.
The Taste was held last spring after a hiatus of a couple of years, and it went so well, they decided to do it again this fall. Tickets will be $20.
“It’s something the retailers requested we bring back,” said Sara Bloom, executive director of DHDC. “We brought it back in April. It was a huge success. We completely sold out of all 300 tickets.”
She said the downtown businesses asked for it to become a semi-annual event. Only 300 tickets will be sold again as they were last spring so as not to overwhelm retailers.
In April, “the retailers loved it, the community loved it,” Bloom said. “We do anticipate selling out again.”
She anticipates having twenty stops. At each stop there is a food to taste and a beverage.
“The other nice thing about The Taste is they are not just getting a taste of food and drink but a taste of what downtown has to offer,” she said. “You are getting a taste of everything.”
Last spring, businesses offered beauty treatments, fashion shows and massages, showcasing their products or services.
The Taste has changed since it was revived. Three years ago, it revolved around all of the restaurants downtown, Bloom said.
Several of the restaurants had closed in a short amount of time, and it was decided to discontinue it. It is formatted now so it can be continued but it no longer is just about food.
The plan to continue as long as retailers keep requesting it and the community continues asking for events downtown, Bloom said.
“DCHC does not exist without its merchants. We are here to serve them, and to bring awareness to downtown,” she said. “If it becomes that they are burned out and tired of events, then we need to re-evaluate.
“As long as that desire and need is there, we will continue to offer it,” she said.
Participants are required to check in and show IDs, and must be 21 to attend.
Bloom is pleased with the way things are going DHDC although she has only been there about seven months. She has been checking in with the retailers to see what can be done for them — not just for special activities.
“Just in those seven months, we’ve added three new events,” she said. “We’ve just come off of Wines & Steins, which was a huge success. We sold out of all 300 tickets for that event as well, which has only happened twice in the organization’s history.
“It was a huge, huge accomplishment for us. We have a great relationship with the retailers.”
Downtown continues to grow, and they are trying to bring that awareness through the events, she said.
“DHDC is doing wonderfully right now and I’m excited to see where the organization goes.”
“We are nothing if we are not doing what our merchants want us to do,” said Sandy Jacobs, president of the board of directors. “Everything in downtown is thriving right now. We are just grateful that everyone is supporting us in the ways that they are.”
One new activity for downtown only is an exclusive reception for businesses on the bricks. DHDC hopes to open up conversations between downtown businesses so that there is more opportunity for cross marketing. It is not open to the public.