The Taste of Lake Geneva festival is coming to an end after 10 years of showcasing Lake Geneva’s local eating establishments.
Organizers at the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District have announced that they will not be bringing the outdoor food festival back in 2019.
Bridget Leech, executive director of the downtown business district, said the Taste of Lake Geneva no longer meet her organization’s mission.
“The event was always a great day, and we appreciate every restaurant that has taken part in it,” Leech said. “This event is not one that brought the greatest value to the organization.”
Started about 10 years ago, the food festival was held in September for many years, but organizers last year moved it to June to coincide with the kickoff for Lake Geneva’s Restaurant Week. Last year’s festival included about a dozen restaurants along with live music in the city’s downtown Flat Iron Park.
Nicolas Carone, owner of Frank’s Original hot dog place, said he was disappointed that organizers were dropping the event.
Carone said he always got a positive response when he participated in the Taste of Lake Geneva.
“We had a lot of people show up,” he said. “It was a way to get our name out there.”
The Taste of Lake Geneva featured participating restaurants setting up vendor booths to allow people to sample food items. The event also included live music and other activities.
Leech said the Business Improvement District plans to experiment with new activities such as a Wine Walk scheduled for May 12. Participating businesses will offer samples of wine and snack items as part of the walk.
Daneen Soliday, sales manager for the Geneva Inn, said she was surprised to learn that the Taste of Lake Geneva was being dropped. The inn’s restaurant participated in the festival for several years.
Soliday said she hopes the event will return some time in the future.
“Sometimes events have to die and come back,” she said. “Maybe three years from now, somebody will say, ‘Whatever happened to the Taste of Lake Geneva,?’ and they will bring it back.”
Leech said she hopes another organization will bring back the food festival.
Carone said he, too, hopes for a revival.
He said he enjoyed interacting with the other vendors at the event.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.