By Brandon HENSLEY
Lots of music, food and gusts of cold wind were on hand in the Montrose Shopping Park on Sunday. You could say the event almost blew everyone away.
The seventh annual Taste of Montrose was held in the 2200-2400 blocks on Honolulu Avenue. The event is a fundraiser for Crescenta Valley High School’s Prom Plus organization. Prom Plus holds an after-prom party at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA every year, offering a fun, supervised evening for CV students and their dates.
On Sunday, patrons paid $20 for a wristband that allowed them to sample food from 23 different eateries, some located in the shopping park, and some that came onto the avenue and set up a booth in the food court.
Aside from the food, it was also the annual Wags ‘n’ Whiskers and Kids ‘n’ Kritters events, which supports the Glendale Humane Society. Kids enjoyed the petting zoo and were treated to an animal show, which featured a six-banded armadillo.
Panera Bread from La Cañada was there, under an orange and white tent, giving away assorted desserts like cookies and scones. Panera manager Layla Tabata sometimes had to keep the food from blowing off the table because of the wind, and even though she looked cold, she enjoyed the day nonetheless.
“It’s good. It’s a chance to see everyone and it’s really exciting to be out here,” she said.
This was Panera’s third time at Taste of Montrose, but Tabata was hesitant to say whether being a presence there every year helped business.
“It’s hard to tell,” she said, while noting the important thing for her was being there for Prom Plus. “We do a lot of community work, so anything we can volunteer for, we do,” she said.
9021Pho, which sells itself as Vietnamese-centric with a French and California twist, had a booth at Taste of Montrose. Chef Kimmy Tang and her staff will also be working the Prom Plus party.
Prom Plus student president Dylan Sylvester could be seen running around making sure his volunteers were at the right places, selling wristbands and thanking patrons at certain booths.
“The amount of effort the community puts in to have restaurants at Taste of Montrose … it’s really good for the restaurants and community,” Sylvester said.
He also helped organize the Montrose Christmas Parade last year. He said he received more volunteer help at the parade, which makes Taste of Montrose challenging.
“You try to work things out because maybe you don’t need people at a particular spot, and others have to go eat, and you’re trying to take breaks,” he said. “It’s just hard making it fit together but it works out in the end.”
“It is a lovely event,” said patron Maggie O’Rourke. “It really shows the heart and soul of the community, that so much time and effort and energy and care go into putting this on every year to make sure the students have a wonderful prom.”
Montrose Shopping Park events coordinator Linda McMenamin said this was the first time Wags ‘n’ Whiskers had rain in the nine years it has been held.
“The weather didn’t seem to detract from people coming out to have a good time,” she said. [Glendale Humane Society] had a great turnout for the dog walk and raised over $11,000 for the shelter.”
As for the Taste of Montrose, McMenamin said, “To have the local restaurants and eateries working together with Prom Plus to support safe after prom activities is just a great way to show how much community matters in Montrose, while getting to eat some pretty amazing food.”