Pictured above: Hundreds of students stopped by the Taste of Fayetteville to hear live music and sample free food from around the city. The event is sponsored by University Housing. | Photo by Laura Kilpatrick.
The fourth annual Taste of Fayetteville event took place from 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21 in the Chi Omega Greek Theatre.
Students lined up at the corner of Dickson Street and McIlRoy Avenue and swiped their student ID card in order to enter the event.
The volunteer workers, including resident assistants, Lead Hogs and students through GivePulse, gave out 1,500 wristbands, said Megan Witherspoon Evans, assistant director for residence education. She organizes Taste of Fayetteville as part of her role with University Housing.
“The event was well-organized, and the line moved quickly despite how long it was,” said Grace Mathis, a freshman who attended the Taste of Fayetteville.
Mathis went because she heard from upperclassman that Taste of Fayetteville was one of the best events. She was also excited about the free food, she said.
The 14 vendors, including Slim Chickens, Pieology Pizzeria and Rick’s Bakery, were lined up along the curved street above the Greek Theatre. They are not paid to be there, but Witherspoon includes their names in the marketing for the event.
Companies hope that by donating their food, students who are new to Fayetteville will become patrons of their restaurants, Witherspoon Evans said. The university has existing relationships with most of the vendors who participate each year.
Witherspoon Evans keeps in contact with them throughout the year and informs them of the date.
Most are “jumping at the chance” to participate, Witherspoon Evans said. She also keeps track of new restaurants and reaches out. Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe and Torchy’s Tacos were two new vendors this year, she said.
Torchy’s on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard opened Aug. 7 in Fayetteville. The marketing team chose to participate in this event to promote the brand as they are moving out of Texas, said Brian Fauerbach, general manager for the Torchy’s being built in Rogers. He hopes this event encourages more traffic into the store, and “everyone will see how good Torchy’s food is,” Fauberach said.
After students made their way through the line of vendors, many sat on the bleachers of the Greek Theatre and listened to a band called JukeBoxx as they ate.
Having the event in such an iconic location gives the event that “outdoor, welcome-to-campus feel,” Witherspoon Evans said.