Taste of Woodburn returns
If there is any chance that the second Taste of Woodburn event could be disrupted by the major construction activity on First Street, event planners are working to smooth those wrinkles out.
"It's moving and definitely being planned well and dialed in," said Woodburn Economic Development Specialist Maricela Guerrero, who is working with a well-oiled committee to carry out this event's second year, with ambitions to make it an annual go-to attraction.
This year's Taste of Woodburn, which takes place in the Downtown Plaza 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 1-2, will resemble last year's in many ways: food vendors include Mega Foods, Real Mexican Food, El Mercadito, Lili's Café, Maria's Cuisine, Firehouse BBQ and Taqueria Los Panditas. There will also be a full slate of entertainment both days.
Several additional elements include increased signage to incorporate the selection of downtown restaurants into the mix. A free passport given out with coupons that will be valid all year long and an educational component defining foods beyond the broad categories to the specific regions to which they derived.
A nifty addition will be an informal, hot-rod and antique-car cruise in, which will set up on First Street just to the north of the plaza from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2.
Taste of Woodburn's inaugural year drew 2,000 visitors downtown, some of whom hailed from Portland and other farther-flung locales away from Woodburn's immediate region. Planners envision it growing, with hopes of even seeing it become an annual attraction for some folks the same as Mt. Angel's Oktoberfest is for many.
"We are hoping to double last year's attendance, and I think that can be done," said Woodburn's Economic Development Director Jamie Johnk.
A potential caveat, especially given that the area is gearing into peak construction season, is parking. But planners have secured the lot behind the Woodburn Post Office along with overflow parking at Woodburn's Chemeketa Campus to absorb the event influx they hope to attract.
Once situated the attendees can soak up the atmosphere, which includes sounds from many locally known ensembles: Woodburn High School Mariachi, Ballet Folklorico, Acoustic Lens, Billy and the Rockets, Reedy300, and Los Rebeldez on Saturday; Gypsy Marshall Duo, Chemeketa Salsa Dancers and Dina y Los Romberos on Sunday.
Johnk and Guerrero both underscore the importance of tourism as an economic driver, noting that day travelers to town spend on average of $68 each, while groups (average group size about 2.9 people) spend about $197 per day.
They highlight events like Taste of Woodburn entwining with other regional assets in bolstering visitors' experiences. Included among those assets are wineries, farmer's markets, Silver Falls State Park, culture and historical attractions, such as the Settlemeir House and downtown Woodburn, and other events such as the St. Paul Rodeo or the Tulip Fest.
Woodburn's 2018 event economic impact
Taste of Woodburn
2,000 visitors — $135,862
24,000 visitors — $1.6 million
150,000 visitors — $10.1 million
Cinco de Mayo
12,000 visitors — $815,172
— Shared by city of Woodburn Economic Development Department