This Sunday, the annual event Taste of Ann Arbor returns to its spicy stock for the 25th time. It morphed from an ethnic festival to a showcase of downtown restaurants years ago, but the 39 participating restaurants remain culturally diverse.

Taste of Ann Arbor

Sunday at 11 a.m.
Main Street area
50 cents per food ticket

“Pretty much any ethnicity you could think of is represented,” said Main Street Area Association Executive Director Maura Thomson, who organizes the event, when asked about this year’s highlights. “We have everything from Ethiopian to Japanese to Jamaican, Thai, Indian — it runs the gamut.”

This year’s Taste of Ann Arbor involves the most restaurants ever — high-profile participants include Gratzi, The Melting Pot and Palio. The event will take place on Main Street between William and Washington Streets from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and its purpose is to draw people downtown and promote the best of downtown eats, Thomson explained.

But the event also fosters a community in downtown Ann Arbor, so the number of restaurant participants and the number of community organizations helping out, such as the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL), make Taste a success no matter how many people show up on Sunday.

The event is geared toward families, Thomson said, with the AADL promoting its summer reading program for kids at its activity area on Liberty Street between Main and Fourth Streets. However, the food prices certainly fit well within a student budget.

Event-goers purchase tickets for 50 cents each from stationary booths or roaming ticket agents with red balloons, and tastes are typically one ticket each. Yet many restaurants offer full meals for $4 worth of tickets. Check out the Blue Nile for a $4 meal and the cupcake station for a one- or two-ticket mini cupcake.

Taste’s free entertainment, provided by the Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch, includes wide-ranging Ann Arbor musical artists like Abigail Stauffer, Theo Katzman and Laith Al-Saadi, among others. Relax Station also gives free chair massages — which entice almost anyone.

As Thomson said, “For anyone who’s at all interested in food, it’s an awesome day.”

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