Taste of Madison gives back to community

Volunteers and community members had the opportunity to try various foods from local establishments, while raising funds for area charities, at Madison’s 33rd annual Taste of Madison event this weekend.

The festival featured local restaurants and food vendors in kiosks around the Capitol Square and displayed foods from deep-fried cheese curds to international cuisines.

“The event’s purpose is to highlight the wonderful aspects of Madison’s culture and to raise money for charity,” said Brodie Birkel, the event’s media and advertising spokesperson.

Largely with the help of volunteers, Taste of Madison raises money for local nonprofits and charities, such as animal rights organizations and food banks. Last year, Taste of Madison raised over $62,000 for area charities. This year’s revenue will be calculated over the next few weeks.

“We basically pay our volunteer groups by donating back to the nonprofit organization of their choice,” operations and vendors spokesperson Erin Dougherty said. “The beverage stands receive a flat donation and receive all of the tips from the event.”

This allows the festival to support local nonprofits, according to Dougherty, who says the event gives workers a chance to help out their chosen organizations.

Dougherty said the only roadblock to the event this year was nearby construction at AnchorBank, though noted any inconveniences were minimal.

“We’ve had some parking challenges,” she said. “As far as displacing staff and volunteers goes, it was just a small challenge, but we’ve obviously made it work.”

Despite the construction, Birkel said this year’s festival was more successful than last year’s.

She also attributed this year’s festival’s success to its historic quality and appeal.

“It’s kind of [Madison’s] staple event. I think everyone looks at it as the closing of summer,” Dougherty said. “The purpose of this event is to give Madison a free, great event.”

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