Taste of Ellijay Turns up the Heat

Community, Neighborhood Merchants

The rescheduled annual “Taste of Ellijay” festival kicked off on a scorcher of an afternoon. The festival, organized, by the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce, featured food and festivities provided by a litany of local Gilmer County restaurants, 18 total. The festival, in its sixth year, was the brain child of the, now defunct, Downtown Merchants association. The Chamber of Commerce has headed the event for the last two years after the dissolution of the Merchants Association. In its first year hosting, last year, the Chamber saw a record number of people in attendance.

Paige Green, spokesperson for The Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce
(Photo by LT Melton)

Paige Green, a spokesperson for the chamber, said, “

Last year was a record year, we had over a thousand people.”

There were not as many participants due to the rescheduling caused by inclement weather; however, there were plenty of people enjoying a plethora of different food wares, and music. Green championed the value the vendors receive via the occasion.

Sonic shares wares
(Photo by LT Melton)

“It’s one of the best advertisements for our local restaurants,”

Local ties are deeply emphasized when deciding the criteria for vendor availability.

“They’re all local restaurants or local food related businesses,”

said Green.

Colonel Poole’s BBQ
(Photo by LT Melton)

Darrell Cambell, proprietor of 28 Main, home to the King of Ellijay Burger, experienced his second “Taste of Ellijay” even though he had not actually opened his restaurant until approximately a week after last year’s festival. The sample of choice provided by 28 Main was not the King, nor the most popular dish served there, The Ooey Gooey Cheeseburger, but instead was the Cuban sandwich, due to it being voted the best Cuban in North Georgia by restaurant.com. Conversely Okinawa provided chicken fried rice because it is the restaurant’s most popular item.

People enjoying the festivities
(Photo by Ralph Barker)

Shane’s Rib Shack, decided on chicken in order to showcase “the yard bird” to potential customers who typically think of pork when considering Shane’s for their dining pleasure.

Sara Nichols promoted the “Cinch Inch Loss Plan” by offering samples of a weight loss shake that she claimed was a good way

“to lose weight and lower type two sugars.”

The lone non-restaurant vendor was, the Ellijay Mountain Bike Association; however, they were provided with apple pies by R & A Orchards. Terry Palmeri, spoke about the positive impact that the mountain bike trails have on the Gilmer community.

“A lot of the people who mountain bike in this area are visitors. They’re from out of state. They’re from Canada,

” said Palmeri. She estimates that for every night that a mountain biker stays in the county,

“they’re going to spend about $212.00.”

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