We sat down with Aaron Newquist of First State Bank and chatted about Taste of North Texas, the amazingly gluttonous fundraising event that he helps run for Denton Kiwanis Club. We’ve heard about this one for years (26 to be exact) but we haven't really ever known what it was or why it even happened. Turns out, this is another little slice of Denton that you can literally eat your way through. Check out how you can sample food from the likes of Oak St. Draft House, Mellow Mushroom, Beth Marie's Kolache Haven, La Milpa, Nothing Bundt Cakes and lots more for one low price in our interview with Newquist.
What exactly is the Taste of North Texas?
The Taste of North Texas is a large food and beverage expo. For one price, visitors can sample a wide range of foods and beverages, including alcohol, from up to 40 different participating vendors. With your admission, food and non-alcoholic beverages are AYCE or until supplies run out, and you get 2 free alcoholic drinks free.
How did Taste of North Texas get started?
The Taste is a major fundraiser for the Denton Kiwanis Club Children’s Clinic. This is our 26th year. The Children’s Clinic provides low-cost or no-cost medical, dental, and prescription assistance to disadvantaged children in the Denton area.
What is the Denton Kiwanis Club?
The Denton Kiwanis Club is a 91 year old, chartered club of Kiwanis International. The mission of Kiwanis International is to “Serve the Children of the World” and the Denton Kiwanis Club does that by supporting the ongoing efforts of our Children’s Clinic.
We are a service organization similar to Rotary or Lions Club. In addition to the Taste, our club is also the organization that has been putting on the Denton Fireworks show at Fouts Field/Apogee Stadium all these years, among other fundraisers. We offer a weekly luncheon and program Wednesdays, Noon, at First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Malone Street. Anyone is welcome to visit our weekly meeting to network, get plugged in, and hear all types of relevant speakers and programming we have planned for each week. If someone wants to be involved in a service club but can’t make the mid-day meeting commitment, we recently launched “Kiwanis After Hours”, a satellite group which meets once a month at the end of the work day at a local bar/restaurant. Members of After Hours also get entry to the weekly main club programming, and vice-versa. After Hours is also free to visit. Check out Denton Kiwanis After Hours on Facebook for our next meeting location and time! More information about the club can be found at our website.
How are the vendors selected?
We seek to find some of the best tasting and most unique samplings from around Denton among the categories of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages. Each year we have a lot of vendors renew their participation with the Taste due to the successful exposure they get from the event. In case we have vendors not renew, we call on some of the newest and most interesting vendors from the area that fit the categories we’re trying to add to. For example, last year, we added Oak Street Draft House to our vendors. There are a couple new ones this year too that you’ll be surprised by!
Will there be some tasty brews and booze?
John Williams and his crew will definitely bring something tasty! Last year they had some pretty sweet giveaways too, if I recall, as do many of our vendors if you’re into freebies. If craft beer isn’t your thing, both Ben E. Keith (Budweiser products) and Miller of Denton will be sampling tasty beverages that are more nationally known.
What are you personally excited about tasting this Thursday at the event?
I can’t answer that question. Its like asking me which of my kids I love the most. I don’t want to list one without the other. I can tell you that you’ll be surprised by what you find and that every year the results of both the official judging and People’s Choice polls are extremely varied. There is something for everyone and you will definitely taste something incredible from some place you never knew of before.
Taste of North Texas is this Thursday, March 26th, 5:30pm at UNT Coliseum. Attendees should park in Fouts Field parking. Its free after 5:00.
Tickets are available through www.tasteofnt.com. Pre-purchasing is a great idea to avoid the lines and make a couple extra laps around the expo before the delicious samples run out!. Tickets cost are $15 for adults and kids 6 and under are free.
You can also purchase tickets in person at the Kiwanis Club Office (1001 N. Elm St.), any First United Bank location, the Denton Chamber of Commerce (Parkway St.), and the ticket booth at Apogee Stadium.