'Taste' draws hundreds to streets of Dorset

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On Sunday, Dorset earned the title "Restaurant Capital of the World" when hundreds, if not thousands, of people attended the Taste of Dorset Feast Fest to indulge in a wide array of food.

Although the Dorset business owners have no official way of tracking the actual number of visitors, cars were parked along both sides of Highway 226 all the way north to County Road 18 and south one mile.

"It went great. We had a great turnout and we were definitely busier than last year," said Levi Durgin, owner of Companeros, adding that they had purchased 4,000 food boats for the event. He said by Sunday evening, they're down to 500 and they do not put all of their items in food boats.

Durgin said it's hard to say for sure how many people came through the line because more than likely, several people couldn't resist having second helpings.

"We're still cleaning up the rubble," he joked Monday afternoon. "A lot of work is put into it to prepare and a lot of work goes into it afterwards."

Kathy Schmidt, owner at La Pasta Italian Eatery, said they ran out of food by 2:15 p.m., including the spaghetti balls, which she says the number of how many she starts the day with is her secret.

"We had a good crowd. It was busier than usual and I think it's because we had really perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold," she said. "It was one of our better years."

"Attendance was phenomenal," Joan Grover, owner of Dorset Antique Shop & Attic Treasures and co-owner of Dorset Books & Candy Shack agreed. "We had a record number crowd there. I think there's a definite difference in people's general attitudes this year; people are happy."

At the bookstore, they hosted several Minnesota authors who were signing books, which Grover said was an added feature this year that drew people in.

Grover added that she went through 60 dozen cookies in a little over three hours outside her antique shop.

Other activities along the boardwalks of Dorset were face painting, free balloons for the kids at Stained Glass Creations, crawfish races outside of Dorset General Store and, of course, the famous mayoral race, among other things.

Teresa Walsh, who is also the mother of a Companero's employee, according to Durgin, is now the 2017 Mayor of Dorset.

The world's shortest parade consisted of two floats and Just For Kix dance troupe.

First English Lutheran Church was a popular spot, serving pies and fresh sweet corn.

Companero's hosted a bean bag tournament for the first time this year and Durgin said, "It was pretty successful, we had 21 teams entered, I'd say that's pretty good for the first year."

Grover commented, the Dorset restaurant and retail business owners are very appreciative of the support not only from the locals but the tourists as well.

"I'm a little tired," Schmidt said. "We had a great time."