PLATTSBURGH - It's the time of year that Jody A. Parks looks forward to every year - the annual Taste of the North Country.
Parks, who serves as executive vice president for the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce - the organization which puts on the event - said there's much in store for this year's Taste of the North Country, now in its 15th year.
"We've really got a lot going on this year," said Parks. "We have quite a few new participants, which I think speaks for the event."
Taste of the North Country centers around displays and samples from local restaurants and vendors, which continues to grow year after year, said Parks.
"The tasting is an opportunity to see what local restaurants and vendors have to offer," she said. "And, these vendors and restaurants go all out. They do a really good job that night."
This year's participating businesses include A & W, Adirondack Coffee Roasters, Agri-Mark / McCadam Cheese, Anthony's Restaurant and Bistro, Dame's Disc. Liquor and Wine Specialty Shop, DeLish by Irises, Dunkin Donuts, ELFS Farm Winery and Cidermill, Geoffrey's Pub and Restaurant, The Ground Round Grill and Bar, Irises Cafe and Wine Bar, Karma Indian Cuisine, Kentucky Fried Chicken, L & M Discount Liquor and Wine, Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Liquor and Wine Warehouse, Michele's Fine Dining, Moe's Southwest Grill, My Cup of Tea, Ninety Nine Restaurant, Panera Bread, Rambach's International Bakery, Rulf's Orchard, Sam's Club, Smooth Moves, The Station Cafe and Gifts, Vesco Ridge Vineyards, and Wal-Mart SuperCenter.
Even though it's called Taste of the North Country, the event is about more than just food. It actually gives attendees a taste of the many items available at local businesses through its annual auction.
"We have some cool things this year as always," said Parks. "We have everything from gift certificates to restaurants to toys for children to gift baskets to vacations to boat rentals. Everything you can possibly imagine."
Among the big-ticket items this year, is one of Schonbek Worldwide Lighting's highly-sought after crystal chandeliers, valued at $1,100. Perrywinkle's Fine Jewelry is also contributing a 14 karat gold amethyst briolette pendant this year, valued at $500.
"Grace Realty is even donating the use of a condo in Florida," said Parks, referring to a one-week stay at the Barefoot Beach Resort in Indian Shores, Fla. "That's something we haven't had before."
However, Parks noted people shouldn't be intimidated by the value of some of the high-end items. Many items are valued in the $20 range, but even big-ticket ones can go for a steal.
"That's why it's a good place to get your holiday shopping started," said Parks. "There really is something for everyone. "
Money raised from Taste of the North Country helps the chamber of commerce with its continued efforts of promoting and marketing the region, said Parks, which is another reason to attend the event.
"It helps us with our continued promotion of economic development and small business support," she said. "We can't do that without events like Taste of the North County to help raise money."
Taste of the North Country will be held at the Plattsburgh State Field House on Rugar Street Wednesday, Nov. 10. The event will begin with an auction preview at 5 p.m., followed by a silent auction and tasting from 5:30-7 p.m. The main auction will be held from 7-7:30 p.m.
Admission for the event is $18, with tickets available in advance or at the door.
For more information about Taste of the North Country or to purchase tickets, contact the chamber of commerce at 563-1000 or visit their Web site at www.northcountrychamber. com.
Taste of the North Country is sponsored by NBT Bank, Today's Options, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield with support from Bridge Street Auction Service, The Northeast Group, Curtis Lumber, Buck Supply and Distribution, The Plattsburgh North Country Services Corporation, Pactiv Corporation, Party Effects DJ Service and emcee Don Duley.