10/14/12 — United Way tempts crowd at annual Taste of Wayne

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United Way tempts crowd at annual Taste of Wayne

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 14, 2012 1:50 AM

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Antonio Williams prepares a fresh cup of handmade lemonade at the booth for The Ice Storm during the 2012 Taste of Wayne held at Cornerstone Commons in downtown Goldsboro Saturday. The event, which is sponsored by the United Way, attracted more than 1,000 people.

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Lindsay Stallard, 8, takes a break from taste-testing to play with a balloon hat at the Taste of Wayne.

The decision to move the annual Taste of Wayne fundraiser for United Way to a site downtown proved a recipe for success Saturday as more than 1,000 people attended the annual food festival to officially kick off the United Way's annual fundraising campaign.

The event featured the best from more than two dozen local eateries -- all of whom hoped to secure bragging rights as the best spots in town. Some perennial favorites won, but there were some surprises, too.

It was a day for feasting.

Under sunny skies and crisp temperatures, people eagerly lined up for their favorite item, whether it was pizza or pork, cupcakes or crispy chicken.

"I'm stuffed," admitted Steven Powers, who had just finished another of the restaurant offerings. When asked what he liked best, he didn't even hazard a guess.

"Too many to choose from," he said.

His wife, Michelle, said she works in downtown Goldsboro and was still surprised at how many restaurants are open nearby.

"There's a lot of stuff downtown that I really didn't even know of," she said.

Restaurant owners were in their element, proudly showing off what their staffs were capable of turning out. Several said they enjoyed being able to meet customers who might not otherwise have heard of them.

"I think we'll have a a great day Monday," said Devan Isenhower, the daughter of Jennifer Isenhower, who owns "Bake My Day," referring to a special offer on Monday.

"It started out a little slow but it's really turned out to be a great Taste of Wayne," said David Thomas of Brooklyn Pizzeria.

"United Way did an outstanding job of organizing all this," said Chris Merritt, the pizzeria's owner.

Festival goers danced to rhythm and blues music and gulped down a smorgasbord of Wayne's lunch, dinner and even breakfast, fare.

Bobby Edwards and Tracie Battle were sampling the various booths shortly before noon.

"This is quite an event. It's a great location," said Edwards, "and the weather is wonderful."

But the great variety of dishes was enough worry him a little.

"I hope we don't run out of time," he said, looking around at the gastric temptations that covered Cornerstone Commons and spread out onto the grassy area behind it.

"We're thrilled that so many local businesses had the opportunity to promote what they have to offer," said Kim Best, speaking on behalf of the city of Goldsboro. The weather was perfect and helped with the turnout, she noted.

Organizers said they plan to again hold another Taste of Wayne in 2012 on the second Saturday in October at the same location.

The Village Steakhouse was chosen as No. 1 in the People's Choice awards, followed by Brooklyn Pizzeria in second place and Carl and 'Chelle's Grill Room in third.

Other awards were:

* Breakfast, Breads and Pastries: J.J. Ashley

* Pizza: Laughing Owl

* Healthy Foods: Sweet Treats

* Hometown Favorites: East Coast Wings

* Barbecue: Los Fogones

* Drinks: The Ice Storm

* Fast Food: Zaxby's

* Pub Grub and Appetizers: East Coast Wings

* Special Occasion Dinner: Los Fogones

* Desserts: J.J. Ashley