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Restaurant tour gives public a 'Taste'

May 13, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Rob Smetzer of Clear Spring tries the food at the Schmankerl Stube Thursday during the Taste of the Arts in downtown Hagerstown.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Music and food drew a crowd to downtown Hagerstown on Thursday for a "Taste of the Arts."

Restaurants offered samples. Student singers and musicians performed.

People strolled sidewalks comparing "passports," which they took to each of the 12 participating restaurants to get stamped.

The event was a benefit for The Maryland Theatre and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation.

Karen Giffin, the city's director of community affairs, said the city and its Downtown Alliance thought up the idea to get together. It was seen as a way to bring people downtown and get them to visit restaurants they'd never tried before.

Charlie Sekula of the Schmankerl Stube restaurant guessed that 160 to 180 people had stopped by with passports in about three hours.

He said he considered that a success and would like the event to expand next year, with the city closing off the street.

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Some people ran into each other a few times throughout the evening, as they followed the same paths from shop to shop.

People who got a stamp at every restaurant were entered into a drawing for a $500 gift certificate from Anderson Photographs or $300 in Downtown Dollars.

The winners were scheduled to be drawn at a concert at Bridge of Life Church on South Potomac Street.

Barbara Ingram School for the Arts students or their art were at restaurants on the tour.

Violinists played on a stage at Leiters Fine Catering on South Potomac Street.

Olivia Baker and Allison Nichols, freshmen vocal majors, sang "I'm Not That Girl" from "Wicked" while people chatted and ate at Rocky's Pizza Caff Napoli on North Potomac Street.

The girls said they enjoyed the experience because it gave them a taste of performing in public.

Freshmen Page Wade and Cayla Grimm sang for people dining or waiting in line at Laila's Kitchen on East Franklin Street.

Michael Thorsen, principal of Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, said many students haven't played for an audience in that intimate of a setting before, so the event gave them a chance to practice their poise.

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