A Taste of the 20th year

A couple of weeks back, Rick from Syracuse radio station TK99 sent me a Facebook request for a few minutes of my time.

Could he talk to me for a show he was putting together for the 20th anniversary of the Taste of Syracuse, please?

Sure, I replied. Then, I thought: Has it been that long since I listened to the bands founder Jim Horsman brought in when I worked for the big daily? Also: Would my memory serve me about the early years at the Regional Market and State Fair, before Galaxy Communications bought this fest, moved it to the blocks surrounding Clinton Square, and saw it grow into downtown Syracuse’s biggest-drawing event?

During our chat, Rick reminded me about the Grass Roots playing the Regional Market. I talked about the Bacon Brothers — yup, one degree of Kevin — and Kevin Costner’s Modern West at two different stages downtown.

Rick talked to plenty of interesting people with sharp minds. You can find his special here.

Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.

And the memories pile up. I met my dear wife Karen after work Friday night for our trip to the 20th anniversary Taste of Syracuse.

The women of Girls Getaway: Chris, Georgia and my dear wife Karen.

The women of Girls Getaway: Chris, Georgia and my dear wife Karen.

It was a good night for my wife. We were meeting with two of the cast of her yearly Girls Getaway trip. Chris and Georgia were happy to be walking around with us.

Where’s Mark?

Taking pictures, Karen says to them plenty. Yes, my iPhone 6 was busy.

Guess which company might be a major sponsor this year? Yes, Ford had a big display in the middle of Clinton Square. It was quite interactive. It allowed you to win a T-shirt and pick out which logo you wanted them to press onto the front. I chose the Mustang.

The dollar samples live on.

I tried 11.

Yes, I did.

That included three different kinds of shrimp, a meatball on bread, chicken tenders, chicken riggies, a banana fritter, an empanadas, a beef jerk patty, bread-and-sauce, and jalapeño poppers.

There’s a new sheriff in town. Wyatt Urp.

Mark’s still taking pictures. More slowly.

The music perked me up. Again, there are three stages worth. A tight blues set welcomed us on the Clinton Square stage. Very nice.

The main stage was rocking with the Syracuse Vinyl All-Stars. First, my friend Doug Moncrief was singing the Eagles’ Hotel California album with a tight band that included Brett Hobin on bass, Kevin Farrell on guitar and Shawn Hobin on drums. They sounded great.

Then Michael Crissan fronted another outfit for Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run album, and I literally got goose bumps. My pal Steven T. Winston was great on bass.

I broke Thunder Road down into two shorter videos.

We walked Chris back to the general vicinity of her car, Georgia to hers, and I waddled with Karen to her Mazda in the parking garage. Thankfully, she drove me to the spot I found for my Cruze a half-dozen blocks in the other direction.

Taste of Syracuse continues all-day today in the blocks surrounding Clinton Square. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rockers Cheap Trick headline the main stage tonight. Will you Surrender?

Which sample I mentioned would you want for a buck? Which album would you want to hear re-created note-by-note live more, ‘Hotel California’ or ‘Born to Run,’ and why? Which is your favorite photo, and why?


20 thoughts on “A Taste of the 20th year

  1. Wow, that looks amazing Mark – all that food and music too. I would have tried many samples too – that is a weakness of mine, I like to try little bits if many things – low risk. Hotel California would be my choice as well – fabulous album.


  2. Is your page background red or is my computer acting up? Hard to read the font, but I did it! Thanks for the report, especially the videos, for those of us not going. Looks fun. I guess I would have to pick a live version of “Hotel California” because I always wanted to see The Eagles live, but now will never be able to. The closest I got was when the late Glenn Frey shared the bill with Tina Turner in 1984.


  3. I’m afraid “taste of” festivals don’t appeal to me. I can’t handle the thought of being shoulder-to-shoulder with all those people and trying to juggle food and drink that’s been sitting out in the heat. Kind of like a humungous buffet – and I really hate buffets (all those people and germs). Our own Taste of Buffalo always manages to fall on the hottest weekend of the year and is held on City streets (that pavement is scorching!). I’d just as soon go to my local air-conditioned diner.

    But I have friends who go to the Taste every year and absolutely rave about it. Thousands of people attend and have a wonderful time. It’s just not for me.


  4. Hi Mark, you guys seem to have such a good time in Syracuse. I would have to go with the “Hotel California”, love the Eagles. Food looks great too – did you try the Oreo Truffles – sounds scrumptious!!!!


  5. i love this event and it seems to just keep getting better – i would most love the shrimp tastes and also the bread and sauce. i’m half italian after all )


  6. Looks like an awesome time, and I think you have mastered that iPhone 6 camera – enjoyed the pics! I would love the sampling of so many different foods 🙂 As far as the albums go – wore them both out, but especially the Born To Run 🙂 So many memories associated with both of these . . . ❤


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