A delightful bundle of Tacoma’s signature flavors is coming together to kick off the summer in the annual Taste of Tacoma. From June 22-24, Point Defiance Park will be brimming with activity.
This year the annual event will be host to an array of more than 30 restaurant and specialty food vendors. The list includes well-known names such as Hello, Cupcake along with new businesses on the come-up like Puyallup’s Wicked Pie Pizza. In addition to the restaurants and establishments present there will be an assortment of pop-up vendors and food trucks. Old or new, there is something unique about each of these vendors.
Wicked Pie Pizza is one that prides itself on what sets it apart. Having done business for nearly a year and a half now, the pizzeria has distinguished itself through craft; a build-it-from-scratch mindset has drawn in customers since the doors opened. Having worked in Tacoma’s restaurant industry for more than 28 years, co-owner Mary Anderson has experience overseeing four establishments including beloved Route 66. Wicked is the newest of these.
“We are one of the few pizzerias that actually make everything from scratch,” she explains. “Everyone asks me what makes the pizza so good and my answer is simple: we just use wholesome ingredients, whereas most pizzerias have gone to processed and frozen ingredients they can just slap together and cook quickly.” Anderson says that even the lemonade is fresh squeezed and made so that the customer can witness the process from beginning to end. “People taste the difference.” This year is the restaurant’s second appearance at the Taste but Anderson notes that she’s just as excited to give the public a taste of something they might be missing. “The Taste is a great opportunity because people don’t have to purchase a whole meal to try something out. And that way if they love it we can tell them where they can get it every day.”
Of course, the annual event transcends the culinary world – entertainment will also be provided. More than 80 live bands will take to one of the four performance stages in the park. In an effort to keep things fairly home-grown, all of the bands appearing will have their origins somewhere along the West Coast. In association with 102.5 KZOK, the Bowl Stage will be serving up a mix of country, blues, and classic rock and bands that play tribute to the likes of Rush and Pink Floyd. The Pond Stage, hosted by 106.1 Kiss FM, will play R&B, funk, “unapologetic fiery reflective alt-rock,” dance music and the like. The Rose Garden Stage will be 21 and over (as it will also harbor the beer and wine tasting venue) with 95.7 The Jet playing host. It will be filled with anything from swing music, to Latin, to the music of an “electric violin wizard” (and I’d be lying if I said the latter didn’t sound at least a little bit cool.) Lastly, for a more family-centric option, the Family Fun Stage – hosted by 100.7 The Wolf – will be home to a variety of singer-songwriters, dance performances, and competitions with respective prizes. There will be a carnival on site as well contributing to the atmosphere of summer fun through games and rides.
In addition to promoting local business and welcoming the summer, the Taste of Tacoma is also a means of raising funds for the Emergency Food Network through monetary donations and round-up volunteer work. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday June 22 and Saturday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 24.