An art, music, and food feast

Food, drink, art, entertainment… what better way to spend a spring evening in Piqua?


By Julie Sigler

Twenty-four years ago, the city of Piqua embarked on what has become a long-standing tradition—they came together to celebrate the artists who call Piqua home, with local food, lively music, dancing, vendors and more.

“Taste of the Arts is the kickoff event of summertime in Piqua,” says Lorna Swisher, Executive Director of Mainstreet Piqua. “We have wonderful demonstrators, new food offerings and extremely talented entertainers lined up for this year’s festival. This year will have a lot to offer for all ages.”

For the families with young children, one of the main events of the evening is a performance by musician, artist, and story-teller Chris Rowlands, a nationally-known performer who will be entertaining in the Piqua Public Library at 5:30 p.m. with his “Under The Sea” nature show. Using his puppets, guitar, and self-drawn background, Rowlands enjoys teaching young people about nature and the environment through songs and stories. Admission is free and audience participation is welcomed.

Also in the “Kids Zone” will be an exciting performance from the Kuroi Taka Taiko Drummers, featuring the junior high and high school students of the Mississinawa Valley School of Union City, dancing and drumming in traditional Japanese attire. There will be two opportunities to view their show. Once at 6:15 p.m. and another chance
at 8:00 p.m.

For the food lovers, A Taste of The Arts offers an array of options, providing delicious choices for the taste buds. One award-winning establishment being The Hickory River, a Texas-style, family-owned barbeque restaurant with traditional recipes, handed down for generations. The Hickory River is located just off Route 75 in Tipp City.

Another featured restaurant is The Spot Restaurant. Located about a block away from Main Street, it is well-known for its breakfasts, hamburgers, and delicious cream pies. This cozy establishment is one of Piqua’s historic landmarks, established in 1907 with the arrival of Spot Miller and his food cart. The restaurant has a long story, being bought and passed on, and burnt and remodeled, which makes it a perfect feature for A Taste of the Arts. Other participants of the festival are Winans Chocolates and Coffees, Heritage Events and Catering, Turntable Café, Dobo’s Delights bake Shoppe, Ulbrich’s Hometown Market, and Lee’s Famous Recipe.

The adult beverages will be featured by 311 Draft House, along with Mulligan’s Pub directly across the street. The 311 Draft house has a welcoming hometown feel. It does serve food as well as offer customers a wide variety of beers on its twenty taps. It also provides local wines for purchase. Mulligan’s Pub, located in the historic Fort Piqua Plaza, also offers its own variety of beers on its ever-rotating taps.

A Taste of the Arts will also be welcoming the return of the musical group, The Red Hot Rhythm Review as the headline entertainers for the evening from 5:30-8:30, enticing listeners to dance with their lively funk and R&B—widely known for their powerful horns as well as their equally strong vocals. Additionally, there will be the popular Back to School Quartet roaming the streets and establishments, singing their barbershop melodies during the course of the evening.

A celebration of the arts can’t be complete without the art! Pottery, wood-carving, watercolor, and more. There will be plenty of artisans at A Taste of the Arts, demonstrating their talents on the streets and in the storefronts all along the main street of the festival, including sketchers, quilters, and sidewalk chalkers. The Kids Zone will be full of activities for children to enjoy, supported by the local chapter of the Girl Scouts, along with the YMCA, the Young Life organization, Piqua Catholic, and the Piqua Public Library. Activities include face painting, arts and crafts to take home, contests with prizes and plenty of music and dancing. Art will be all around in the streets of Piqua.

“The Mainstreet Piqua Taste of the Arts committee takes seriously the job of offering a fun, entertaining and awesome event for Piqua each year, this year is no exception,” says Swisher. “We evaluate the event each year, figure out what works, what does not work, and we all work hard planning the next year’s event for the community.”

A Taste of the Arts takes place Friday, May 11, 5 to 9 P.M. in downtown Piqua. Admission is free. For more information, visit

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