The Taste of Amherst Brings People Together Under the Tents

Last night everyone who was out and about was in a good mood because it wasn’t raining over the Taste of Amherst.  Mary recalled how in its earliest days, Amherst’s food festival took place outside each restaurant’s store front….people stopped by for small tastes of each place, with tables set up on sidewalks.  Fast forward twenty years and we have restaurants like Nancy Jane’s, which went out of business years ago, doing a brisk business with a booth at the Taste. Lhasa Cafe, a Northampton restaurant, is here too.

Events like these bring many of the same people out year after year. This is a large part of the appeal to me. We stopped by the wine and beer tent and bought two tickets for Malbec and Chardonnay.  It’s one of those times where you just sit anywhere that’s open. Right next to strangers, young and old.  We ended up next to a retired UMass professor of landscape architecture and his wife, who was a teacher for many years.  They were from Hungary and Switzerland, and come to the Taste every year together.

We quickly began talking about their lives in Amherst and ours…and we all agreed that this event was a fine tradition that brings people together.We talked about the high caliber of retirees who call Applewood home….smart people in retirement.

Young and old were gathered at the tables, many student aged people as well as locals. One man called his daugher on his cellphone, as she stood talking to some boys about 50 yards away. “I’ve got to keep them away from her” he explained.

Up on the stage, the sounds from the band Bunk could be heard. We left the wine tent to find more food to enjoy. People waited for openings at the tables under the tent, and again, sat with whomever was there. Egalitarian and fair, everyone got along.   The popular band Trailer Park had people dancing and swaying their hula hoops to the beat. Tommy Mahnken of  joked from the stage, “Does anyone know any good restaurants around here?”