Commerce Chenango Tourism Announces Taste of Chenango a Huge Success
One could feel the community support and engagement in the air at the inaugural Taste of Chenango at the Chenango County fairgrounds this past Saturday. The first annual event was a success, bringing thousands of community members together to support local vendors and entertainers. This marks the beginning of an important Chenango County tradition of recognition.
The event, sponsored by Chobani, was planned with the intention to put Chenango County’s producers on display, everything from restaurants like Angela’s Pizza in Norwich and Sherburne’s Columbus Public House to Piers Farmers Market and Little Farmhouse Lavender. There were even food trucks, like All the Perks from Edmeston and Smoke Our BBQ from Greene. “I think it’s really important to focus on the exceptional restaurants, agriculture and the talent that we have in our community,” said Event Planner Mindy Chawgo.
The Taste of Chenango festival was truly an event for the whole family, and it was well attended by all age groups. There was a kid’s zone presented by the Norwich Family YMCA, with toys, bubble blowing, chalk drawing, and face painting. Captain Marvel and the Incredible Hulk walked around for pictures and to play with the kids that were in attendance. In the middle of the grassy venue were 2 cornhole sets that people enjoyed, even in the rain. The older crowd could enjoy alcoholic beverages from Madrona Tasting Room in Chenango Forks and Hidden Springs Brewhouse from Norwich. However, everyone enjoyed the music.
The music and entertainment started at 1PM with a high energy country set from successful artist Jason Wicks and his band, presented by NBT and NBT Insurance. Spectators watched from under a tent, swaying and singing along.
After Wicks was done, Taste of Chenango had a special visit from the Blues Brothers and their iconic remodeled police car, the Bluesmobile. They even brought a Blues Babe along with them to get the audience dancing. After a bluesy and humorous performance, they presented an opportunity for event attendees to take pictures with them and/or their car. For a second musical impersonation, Reba McEntire took the stage. She performed an energetic and engaging set as the rain cleared up, then walked around the grounds to take photos and interact.
Beloved local artist Nate Gross then began to set up the stage and merchandise under an NBT Insurance tent. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed Gross’ performance, dancing through the rain and mud with full stomachs and shopping bags.
As the vendors were packing up for the day, Chobani continued their distribution of yogurt and dairy products by giving out several cases of product to anyone who wanted it.
Commerce Chenango President and CEO Sal Testani emphasized: “Without the support of Chobani, NBT Bank and NBT Insurance, it would have been impossible to make this event free to the public.” Free attendance was a major priority for Testani, as he wanted to celebrate the rich Agricultural heritage of Chenango County with as many people as possible.
Commerce Chenango would also like to thank the following people and organizations for making the event a tremendous success: Mindy and Tracy Chawgo, entertainers Nate Gross, Jason Wicks, the impersonators and superheroes that walked around, the Norwich Police Department, Empire Live Sound, The Chenango County Fairgrounds, Mary Weidman and our in-kind sponsors such as Casella Waste Systems and the Norwich Family YMCA Youth Group.
Commerce Chenango is looking forward to hosting Taste of Chenango in 2024!