Last weekend the 24th Taste of Newport had their food fest during what was probably the hottest weekend we’ve had in a long time. With close to triple digit temperatures I was there on Saturday working behind the scenes, I reveled in the “Rapture” of Blondie, still going strong after three decades and “Whip-ed It” with offbeat punk rockers Devo. Considering that Blondie has been kicking it for 35 years and Devo was formed in 1972 (that’s 40 years ago, folks) they both proved that rust never sleeps. A bit of trivia: Rapture is considered by many the first “rap” song and was the first of its kind on MTV in 1981.
With a crowd that rivaled Woodstock on Saturday night--and reported to be one of the biggest in recent history--it was shoulder to shoulder, wine glass to wine glass as the men dressed down in shorts and the ladies dressed up with short skirts to accompany the sweltering temperatures. I commented to Newport Chamber of Commerce Membership Services Director, Pam Smith, who was keeping an eye on things about the crowd size and she offered an observation I will take into account next year, “Saturday night is for people watching and partying. The Friday night crowd is more laid back since things are just getting started and the Sunday night crowd even more so.” Good advice, so next year I will not be volunteering on a Saturday!
Thanks to a volunteer support staff of more than 700 persons, 30 restaurants offering more than 100 different choices, there was something for everyone. The most popular eateries and hangouts: Stella Artois for brews, and Coliseum Pool & Grill at Pelican Hill Numero Uno for food, but they all did remarkably well. I worked the Will Call booth which was a constant stream of people from mid afternoon until the evening. Considering there were so many variables as to VIP, regular admission, comps via the city, banks, sponsors and other influential people, it ran mostly glitch-free.
There was even an unexpected surprise, especially for a lucky lady that was offered a marriage proposal by her beau on Friday night on stage with the Andy Grammar Show. If anyone knows the name and details of those parties, please get back to me for a follow up.