Everyone has their favorite places to eat, and often those biases keep people from exploring new food establishments.
A Downtown Association event held Thursday evening, however, allowed participants to enjoy several different dishes.
Approximately 75 people enjoyed Jefferson City's cuisine in the first Downtown Dinner Dash in two years. This year's format to the event was different than in years past. Participants purchased tickets for $45 a piece, then they chose three of the five participating restaurants, where they enjoyed one drink and one appetizer plate at each. At the end of the night, everyone came together for dessert at the after-party.
Participants visited Capital City Cork and Provisions, G2 Gallery, The Grand Cafe, Gumbo Bottoms and Madison's Cafe. Dessert was provided by Chez Monet and Cafe Via Roma.
"This way, you can maybe pick your two favorites and somewhere you don't go that often," said Stephanie Bell of the Downtown Association.
The point of the evening was to promote the downtown businesses, as well as encourage people to go somewhere they haven't been before.
"People were very pleased. They enjoyed being able to sit down and move on," Bell noted.
In previous events, people would often move in groups together, but because everyone got to pick three of the five locations, the crowd mixed up at each location. "You interacted with different people, and that is kind of part of it as well," Bell explained.
Kasey Green, co-owner of G2 Gallery, said their stop ended up serving between 60 and 70 people total. Having participated in previous events, Green said the crowd was similar.
"I like the new format," Green noted. "This is one of the few times a year when people can come in and enjoy the evening without it being a private event. We always enjoy doing setups like this."
Each restaurant offered three different plates to choose from. Green said the Gallery also paired a specific beer to complement each of its appetizers.
The after-party, which was originally slated as an outdoor event on Madison Street, was moved indoors to G2 Gallery. Music and entertainment were provided at the party by Q Entertainment. All the downtown businesses, with the exception of G2, were open for regular business Thursday night, accommodating the extra crowds for the event.
Bell said the downtown event will hopefully become an annual thing. "It is all about encouraging people to eat downtown," she said.
The event was not a fundraiser, with all the money going directly back to the businesses, aside from some minimal advertising and promotion costs. Bell said she hopes the event can draw in bigger crowds in the future. The Downtown Association will be looking at making a special "teenage" version of the event, featuring more teen friendly restaurants such as Arris' Pizza and Yo-Yums. The idea is still in the early stages, but Bell is hopeful the plan will come to fruition in the coming months.
Despite the chilly temperatures on Friday night, another event was held in Jefferson City highlighting the creative arts in the Capital City.
The eighth annual Gallery Crawl, Art Exposed, took place around town, featuring eight different art venues.
Mary Kate Johnson said the annual event is a chance to show off her work, sell prints and promote the Saturday night Twisted Canvas classes the gallery now offers. The event usually generates a considerable amount of traffic, which Johnson said is nice since her gallery hasn't kept definite hours in the past.
"It is a good way to make connections with other artists," Johnson said. "I'm happy to see people come in, even with the rain."
Area artist Jerry Ricker of High Point was seen searching for the next gallery on the list, along with Wanda Busch of Eldon. The two planned to hit all eight stops and didn't let the weather act as a deterrent as they walked along High Street. Ricker has art on display at Capital Arts Gallery and said he always participates in the annual event to see other artists' handiwork. He said the event also helps him pick up new ideas and get motivated to continue his own creations.
"I come to soak in the beauty of talent and to socialize with other artists and community members," Ricker noted.
Busch was loving her first Gallery Crawl and was impressed by several local artists. "He asked me to come along, and I jumped at the opportunity," she noted.
The local event featured artists at the Missouri River Regional Library, Mary Kate Johnson Gallery, The Filling Station, Cork, The Art Bazaar, Elizabeth Rozier Union Hotel Gallery, Capital Arts Gallery and the Lincoln University Fine Arts Department. Many locations had pieces for sale and used the event as an opportunity to put their best foot forward.
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