Vandalia’s A Taste at the Crossroads returns
By Brandon Semler
Photo: A Taste at the Crossroads will begin at 5 p.m. on June 24 at the Vandalia Sports Complex; photo: J Spivey Photography
The seventh annual Taste at the Crossroads will take place at the Vandalia Sports Complex on Tuesday, June 24. The all-you-can-eat extravaganza of local food, craft beer, wine and music is set to start at 5 p.m. and wrap up around 8:30 p.m.
The Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce regards Taste at the Crossroads as one of its top events, ever since its creation nearly a decade ago. Over 20 local food and beer vendors will be present. Each business will compete for votes, as the guests will have the opportunity to decide who offers the best appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, desert and best overall.
Some of the food vendors participating include: Tipp City’s Hickory River Smokehouse, Creatif Catering, Oscar’s Bar and Grill, Frickers Wings Sports Bar, Max and Erma’s and J.D.’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard. Both restaurants and caterers participate in the competition.
Last year’s winners included BrookBerry Cafe and Catering, which won Best Appetizer in the catering division. Max and Erma’s took home two awards, for Best Soup/Salad and Best Dessert in the restaurant division. Christopher’s Restaurant and Catering also took home two awards, for Best Soup/Salad and Best Entrée in the caterer division.
Hickory River took home the restaurant division’s People’s Choice award; and Creatif catering went home with the awards for Best Dessert and People’s Choice in the catering division.
Boston’s Bistro & Pub will also be present at the festival. Owner David Boston has been on the board for the event for five years and recently pushed to turn the event into one with local adult beverages.
“That was an overnight success,” Boston said. “It was the beginning of a new dimension for the event.”
In terms of beer, the recently-opened Vandalia Brewery Hairless Hare Brewery will feature selections. Also participating are Yellow Springs Brewery, The Dayton Beer Company and Toxic Brew Company. The event serves as a representation of the great variety afforded to the Miami Valley.
“It’s a really good mix from across the area and across the region,” said Will Roberts, Executive Director of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce. Roberts started work with the chamber about seven years ago and said he immediately began looking for ways to showcase the businesses of the Miller Lane district, focusing especially on the mom-and-pop shops. It’s a sentiment Roberts said he shares with the community.
“[The community] has an investment to see small business grow,” Roberts said. “[Residents] want [small businesses] in their community.”
The competition aspect – which involves attendees casting votes for their favorite offerings in a number of categories – ups the ante for the vendors, locking them in a friendly competition for the taste buds of the guests.
“You really get the businesses engaged,” Roberts said.
The event’s attendance has grown substantially over the years. Three-hundred people attended the first event seven years ago, when it was held indoors. Now, in its third year as an outdoor event, A Taste at the Crossroads averages around 900 people, hungry for local grub and a little down-home competition. And remember, your ticket buys you all the food you can muster, as well as a Beer Garden and live music all evening.
“We’ve grown, we’ve evolved,” Roberts said of the event.
A Taste at the Crossroads begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24. The event is held at the Vandalia Sports Complex, 1101 Stonequarry Rd. in Vandalia. Pre-sale tickets are available now. Tickets are $12 or $17 at the gate. Children 9 and under are free with paying adult. For more information, please call the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce at 937.898.5351 or visit vandaliabutlerchamber.org.
Reach DCP freelance writer Brandon Semler at BrandonSemler@DaytonCityPaper.com.