I’ve been going to Chester Greenwood parades since I first moved to Maine. A celebration of the town local who invented earmuffs? Who can’t get behind a thing like that? Though I will say that after nine or ten parade sessions, even the novelty of cars decorated with earmuffs can grow old. That said, it’s always been something to do, and the kids have been in it a number of times, so no complaints here.
This year, however, I heard about something they’d started last year (or the year before? I’m not sure.) It’s called the Taste of Farmington (sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce), and it was a program where you paid $5 and got a voucher that could be redeemed once at 14 different restaurants and stores around Farmington, each of which would be offering something to sample. I figured it would be something small and snackish, but 14 of those can add up, and it seemed like something that would be fun to do with friends or family. This year, we gave it a shot.
Oh. My. Goodness. It was so much food.
I don’t think my mind properly comprehended just how much “14” is. True, some of the places just had something tiny to sample. A cookie and a bit of hot chocolate. A small cup of soup. But some of the places had a whole spread. Chips, a wrap, and soup. Soup and a chicken slider and a smoothie. We were with some friends, and a few of us made a pact: if they offered it to us, we would eat it. (We did have to make exceptions for three items: a beer sample, cup of coffee, and tea, which we had to pass up for religious reasons.) But by the end, I felt more full than I do at Thanksgiving.
It was a great idea for the businesses too, as there were a number of places I went that I had never gone before, even after being here for as long as I have been. Some of those places put on a real show, and I’ll definitely be coming back. Our favorites for the day were The Homestead (which served a delicious curry and a sample of chocolate pie), The Downtown Press Cafe (chocolate peppermint cookie and a to-die-for hot chocolate), and The Beaver Lodge (chicken slider, smoothie, and soup).
Will we do this again? In a heartbeat. I hope they do it every year. Could it be improved? Maaaaybe? A few of the stores were pretty swamped with people who were coming by to participate, so traffic flow could be improved. All told, it took us 2.5 hours to do the whole tour, and we were going pretty fast from place to place. There’s only so fast you can eat, though.
If you haven’t heard of this, put it on your mental To Do list for next Chester Greenwood Day. You’ll thank me later.
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