WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTOS | LEDA HOLLIDAY
The annual Taste of Harbor Springs has become one of the most popular fall events in Northern Michigan. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the best of area restaurants, delis, gourmet shops, and beverages. This year, the event on September 21 promises to be even more amazing, as The Taste of Harbor Springs is celebrating its 25th anniversary!
“Each year, the restaurants have made incredible dishes, and I’m sure they will take the 25th anniversary to the next level,” notes Jenny Brower, an assistant organizer. For example, L. Mawby, a popular winery and vineyard in Suttons Bay, is preparing a celebratory sparkling wine just for the event.
Commemorative stemless wine glasses will be provided for the beverage offerings, which include wine, beer, and hard cider. Roughly 35 tasting opportunities await, and a local community band will entertain.
Hosted by the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the annual event takes place rain or shine under tents at the waterfront in charming downtown Harbor Springs, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm.
Two beloved restaurants have served creative dishes for all of the 25 years: Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, serving fish specialties and more since 1961, and Legs Inn, where house-made Polish cuisine is the specialty, along with a variety of American dishes.
“Last year’s dish from the Boyne Country Club has to be one of the most creative I’ve ever seen,” stated Brower. “The restaurant actually had a cotton candy machine at the event and was wrapping the foie gras in it! I’d never heard of foie gras being served at a Taste Event before … our restaurants just set the bar high!”
The enjoyment of local delicacies amid crisp fall weather at a location on the waterfront is made even more special by the fact that the event is a fundraiser. Two $1,000 scholarships are given out to Northern Michigan culinary students as a result of this annual event. Over the years, proceeds have provided scholarships for many local area students to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
“With the shortage in trained help for the restaurants Up North, this generous contribution is more important than ever for our local economy that relies so much on tourism,” notes Brower.
Another opportunity to enjoy Harbor Springs specialties is the Harbor Springs Brew Festival, which takes place on the waterfront October 5. Hosted by the Harbor Springs Downtown Development Authority, the festival features live music and lawn games and showcases Michigan brews, hard ciders, and wines. Last year’s festivities included a taco-tasting competition served along with popular favorites from Perrin Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, and Oskar Blues Brewery.
The Great Lakes Glass Pumpkin Patch exhibition starts Saturday, October 5 and continues through November. This annual event showcases whimsical displays of hundreds of glass-blown pumpkins by artists Harry Boyer and Lynn Dinning. Pumpkins are set amid “garden patches” at Glassworks in downtown Harbor Springs and at Three Pines Studios in Cross Village, accessible through the world-renowned Tunnel of Trees.
Taste of Harbor Springs Ticketing Information
$30 in advance and $45 the day of the event.
Beverage tickets are $5 per ticket
Tickets may be purchased online through the Harbor Springs Area Chamber after the 4th of July weekend.