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'Taste of Lakeville' is as Tasty as it Gets

Lakeville Rotary Club's annual event is gaining premier status for fun, food and friends.

Good food. Good wine. Good time.

It's the mantra for the annual Taste of Lakeville, which is coming to the Lakeville Area Arts Center from 5-9 p.m. tomorrow, May 17.

And after last year's success, the Lakeville Rotary Club’s annual fundraising event is expected to provide plenty of gastronomic gluttony, sampling suds and wonderful wine than ever before.

The 2012 installment boasts 37 food and beverage vendors that have lined up for this year’s event. All of them will feature unlimited tastings of their best gourmet indulgences and culinary delights, along with an impressive array of wine and hand-crafted beer.

“We’ve got more than 400 different varieties of wines at last count,” said Steve Michaud, and one of the event chairs. “It’s almost like you have to pick your poison. There are so many great food opportunities and sampling items, you’ll have to decide ‘where do I go? And how many times do I go there?”

Michaud has been involved with the Taste of Lakeville since its inception ten years ago and has seen the event grow quickly from its humble beginnings.

“It’s grown exponentially from a couple of hundred to up to two thousand,” says Michaud who has been busy prepping the art center's grounds so festival organizers can begin erecting tents and entertainment stages.

The 2010 event drew more than 1,500 connoisseurs and fun-seekers and attendance is expected to be high again this year. “We’re ready for it,” says Michaud.

Michaud says the event has taken on some of the feel of favorite Pan-O-Prog events and is beginning to resemble a reunion where people look forward to meeting up each year.

“I really enjoy seeing the people have fun, relaxing and watching the stress of every day going out of them. It’s a great event.”

Food and Beverage

Come hungry. The Lakeville area’s best restaurants will be serving up all-you-can eat samplings of some of their favorite dishes and new creations. Sampling every booth might result in severe belt buckle rebellion. Wearing elastic pants might be the best strategy as Michaud says attendees are usually in a constant state of irresistible “grazing” all night. An ocean of craft beers, wine distributors and other beverage vendors will also be on hand to help wash all the grub down.

Entertainment

Three stages will simultaneously fire up with a variety of live entertainment acts including The Dweebs, one of the Midwest’s premier party bands. The cheekily bespectacled band has long been a top draw at outdoor festivals, street dances and clubs for their high-caliber musicianship and energetic stage shows that translate well to large venues.

The Teddy Holidays are a rock band from Minneapolis. Depending on the day you may have caught the Teddys playing one of their original tunes, or putting their twist on one of you're favorite songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and today. This past fall, they were deemed "the best cover band in the twin cities" by Minnesota Monthly Magazine. 

Michael Loonan, a Lakeville landmark on the piano, will also supply his formidable repertoire of popular standards and contemporary jazz to the evening.

Cooking Demonstrations

Back this year will be a fourth stage featuring cooking demonstrations by some of the area’s prominent chefs. Bryan Shouten of Brackett’s Crossing, Molly Dollarhide of Crofut Family Winery and Vineyard, and Chef Gary Stenberg of Copper River Fish and Chop House Restaurant will take turns providing hourly instructional demonstrations that showcase techniques for making some of their signature recipes.

Auctions

A live and silent auction will give attendees the opportunity to bid on more than 100 items. Bidders can choose to try their luck at obtaining everything from an $2,500 gift card to Rutgers Resort on Bay Lake to a Lake Taho condominium stay. If you’ve ever wanted to ride the Zamboni at a Minnesota Wild game, your best chance might be to bid on that item at the Taste of Lakeville where a ticket package will also include the coveted spin around the rink between periods.

Gift certificates galore cover the gamut from restaurants, golf courses, retail stores and other donors as well as a bounty of other donated items.

About Taste of Lakeville

Taste of Lakeville is organized by the Lakeville Rotary Club and serves as that organization’s premier fundraising event. Proceeds from the event help to cover club donations toward scholarships and community projects throughout the year. Past totals have ranged as high as $60,000 to $80,000 earned by the event to be dispersed within the Lakeville community.

The 2011 event will be held this coming Thursday, May 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. on the grounds of the Lakeville Area Arts Center.

Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door and include all entertainment, food and beverages. You must be 21 years of age to attend the event and proof of age will be required.Tickets are available from a number of area retailers and are also available online.

Now, in these photo galleries, we've purposefully left off cutlines and photo captions. The reason? We want you to let us know who is in the photos! If you see yourself or someone you know, let us know in the comments and we'll add your name to the photos. Want one? Let us know and we can send them to you.

CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM THE TASTE OF LAKEVILLE

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