Sunday, August 11, 2019 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews
Featured image: A woman dances to performers during the annual Taste of Bellwood on Saturday. | Shanel Romain
The annual Taste of Bellwood marked its third year with more affordable food options than ever. The festival ran from Aug. 9 through Aug. 11, and took place on Washington Blvd., between Eastern Avenue and the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad embankment.
As before, it included carnival rides and games; two rows of restaurants; catering businesses and food vendors from Bellwood and elsewhere; and booths for local businesses, municipal units and nonprofits.
There was also plenty of entertainment. Although Sunday was dedicated to Gospel performers, the other days saw young performers such as the Proviso West High School Band, Freedom Baptist Church’s drill team, the Jesse White Tumblers and local talent such as Bellwood’s DJ Woodhouse.
Maywood-based Krazy Grapes sold grapes covered in different types of cake, icing, peanut butter and other sweet foods. Aryanna Halsed, the daughter of owner Shamika Miller, said that the business has been around for four years and that this was their second year at the Taste.
Miller said that, while they didn’t get as many customers on Sunday afternoon as they got on Saturday afternoon, she expected business to pick up in the evening.
Raven Wardlow was busy taking orders at the booth for Just Good Food, a Bellwood-based catering company owned by her mother Angie Wardlow. Raven said that this was their second time at the Taste.
“We had so much success and a lot of people were asking for us to come back, so we did what the people asked,” she said.
The Taste also had a number of non-food vendors. Gary Daily said he lived in Bellwood since 1991. During the Taste, he manned the booth for his daughter, Paris Clayton, who owns Hillside-based House of Pari boutique.
“The Taste of Bellwood is wonderful,” he said. “We wanted to come out and support the community and support the businesses. It’s been a great place to live, especially because of the people. They’re very down to earth.”
Daily said that this was his second year at the event.
“We’re at a different location this time, but as far as vendors, it’s been pretty much the same,” he said. “It is better this year, because the weather was pretty hot last year. It was unbearable.”
Daily added that the Taste was better organized this time around.
“They got it secure more, which is good,” he said. “And now, the prices of food are better. Last year, they were a little high. Now, everybody is eating. It’s good that they made it affordable to people.”
Gloria Simpson, of Oak Park, owns Staging It Works LLC, the company which helps homeowners make their homes look more appealing to prospective buyers when they put it up for sale. She said that this was her first year as a vendor at the Taste, and many attendees stopped by to ask about her services.
“It’s been pretty good, since we have a lot of homeowners, so Staging is very interesting to them,” Simpson said. “I love the Taste. It’s great — lots of food variety, different vendors and a nice, friendly atmosphere. VFP
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