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posted: 7/31/2013 12:55 PM

Taste of Roselle features plenty of food, music

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  • The Taste of Roselle returns this weekend to Main Street and brings with it carnival rides, live music and plenty of food options.

      The Taste of Roselle returns this weekend to Main Street and brings with it carnival rides, live music and plenty of food options.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • There will be plenty of options at the Taste of Roselle this weekend, where 22 food vendors will feature some of their favorite items.

      There will be plenty of options at the Taste of Roselle this weekend, where 22 food vendors will feature some of their favorite items.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
By Sean Hammond
shammond@dailyherald.com

Craft vendors at this weekend's Taste of Roselle have come from as far as Texas and Florida to showcase their work, but they will not be making the longest trip to Roselle this year.

That distinction goes to Mayor Stefan Kolawinski of Bochnia, Poland, and his wife Zofia, who will be making the roughly 4,500-mile trip to visit one of Roselle's premiere events.

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Community members will have the opportunity to meet the mayor of Roselle's sister city at the Sister City tent beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

"The goal of (the sister city program) is to promote world peace by personal relationship," Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski said, "by finding common ground with other people. It shows we have more in common than we do not."

Roselle and Bochnia have been sister cities since 2003. Each town has hosted exchange students from its sister city, and former Bochnia Mayor Wojciech Cholewa also visited Roselle in 2003.

Bochnia is a town of about 30,000 on the Raba, a river in southern Poland. It is roughly 25 miles from Krakow, the regional capital. Smolinski has visited Bochnia herself three times, and is happy to host Kolawinski for the first time.

"Bochnia reminds me a lot of Roselle," she said. "It's a community with a nice little center and very warm and friendly residents."

In addition to foreign dignitaries, the Taste of Roselle will play host to 22 food vendors from the community, including first-time attendees Toasty Cheese Mobile Factory -- which sells specialty grilled cheese -- and Cape May Crab Cake Factory.

Favorites among the 20 returning vendors include Chicago Prime, Silver Lake Chinese Restaurant and Rosario's Pizza.

"There's something for everybody's palate," said Kathie Fitzpatrick, a member of the Taste of Roselle Commission. "You can't go away hungry."

Entertainment includes numerous local bands, many of which have played at the Taste before. Performers include Chunky Monkey, playing classics from the '50s, '60s and '70s; Whitey O'Day, an acoustic folk singer; and Classic Addiction, which will be playing classic rock.

New this year is Open Mic Sessions. From noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the stage will be open to anyone who wants to get up and show off their acoustic talents.

There also will be bingo near Prospect Avenue and more than 50 craft vendors showcasing anything from candles to lawn art to doggy treats on Main Street, west of Prospect Avenue.

"It's kind of like a big block party," Fitzpatrick said. "You see people you haven't seen all year, friends coming with their kids. It's a good community event."

Cindy Schramm, also on the Taste of Roselle Commission, has been involved with the Taste in one way or another since its beginning. Her mother was on the original commission, which organized the very first Taste of Roselle 32 years ago.

"They wanted to have a street dance to pay back the town to thank people from the town," Schramm said of the original idea behind the Taste.

Roselle was one of the first Tastes in the area, and many other towns followed suit and started hosting their own. But with recent economic woes, some towns have discontinued their events.

"A lot of festivals have canceled and we've kind of hung in there and become popular again," Schramm said.

The event is mostly run by volunteers, and all of the profits go back to the community. In past years, funds from the Taste of Roselle have gone toward the town's fireworks show, sports equipment and lighting on Main Street.

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