Taste of Olean / Art In the Park

The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cattaraugus County Arts Council invite you to enjoy an afternoon of delicious food, inspiring art, and family-friendly fun at their annual Taste of Olean/Art in the Park event! On Sunday, July 23 from 11am-5pm, War Veterans Park on State Street in Olean will host this popular festival, where visitors can sample a variety of foods and drinks from area restaurants, while enjoying fine art and crafts at the juried festival. This free event is also a great opportunity to explore your own creative (and competitive) side through the Chalk Art Contest and Bocce Ball Tournaments.
Since 1990, the Taste of Olean has invited area restaurants to share some of their best bites with visitors, who come from all over western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania to attend. Vendors will offer a small portion of their restaurants’ menu items - not whole meals or sandwiches - for a very affordable cost (50 cents to $3.50). This way, visitors can try lots of different items and maybe even discover a new favorite restaurant! 
GOACC’s chief operating officer, Meme Yanetsko, is pleased to have several returning vendors this year. Last year’s participants included Ann Marie’s Homemade, Brother’s Bistro, Hammer Back Bar & Grill, JCC Alumni Association, Maple Ridge Bison Ranch, Mirchi Bar-N-Grill, Robyn & Ravyn’s, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Sinfully Delicious. A full list of participating restaurants and their menus will be available before the festival at oleanny.com. In addition to restaurant vendors, this year’s Taste of Olean will also feature local wineries and breweries including Four Mile Brewing Company and Merritt Estate Wineries.
For those who love to shop, the Jamestown Community College Alumni Association will host the third ‘Marketplace at The Taste’ during the event. The Marketplace showcases the best local food and catalog vendors who sell locally grown produce, packaged sauces, honey, mixes, jams, pies, and cookware items such as Pampered Chef and Tupperware. 
Once visitors are fortified by great local food, they can enjoy exploring the beautiful works of regional artists. Art in the Park has been taking place long before the Taste of Olean and even predates the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, according to Executive Director Tina Hastings. “This will be the 68th year for Art in the Park, explained Hastings.  “The Arts Council has run the event for about 15 years.” Only in recent years have the Taste of Olean and Art in the Park been combined; the two events joined forces in 2004.
In previous years, both events took place at JCC’s Olean campus; however, last year’s construction on Union Street forced the activities to move to War Vets Park, which turned out to be a great location. Bill Aiello, Mayor of Olean and member of the Taste committee said, “War Veterans Park was an ideal location last year. The layout of the park, the electricity capacity, water and the pavilion - all add up to a great spot.”
The Taste of Olean/Art in the Park will be held rain or shine. More than twenty artists and a few non-profit organizations have already registered for Art in the Park as of the end of June. Hastings anticipates at least 30 vendors in total come July 23, including a few new ones. Artists travel from all over the region - from Olean, Franklinville, Fredonia and Pennsylvania.
Visitors can expect an impressive range of items at Art in the Park, which is accepting vendor applications until July 9. Hastings explained, “It is a fine arts and artisan kind of event, so we’re looking for all kinds of art: fiber arts, pottery, even artisan soap makers with great packaging and great design. We have jewelry makers, painters, and photographers. One of our new artists is an artist that works in paper making and creates gorgeous paper flowers.” Those who wish to participate as a vendor can contact Hastings at 716)372-7455 or visit www.myartscouncil.net.
The Taste of Olean/Art in the Park is also an opportunity to recognize some of the artists and restaurateurs. Because Art in the Park is a juried art show, ribbons will be awarded for the Best in Show, Best New Exhibitor, and Best Presentation. The Taste of Olean will announce the recipients of this year’s Hospitality Wall of Fame awards, which recognize individuals or businesses who have made a significant contribution to the local food service/hospitality industry.
Express your own creativity using chalk at this year’s new event, Chalk It Up! This art contest is open to the public: a $5 registration fee on the day of the event provides a 4 ft. by 4 ft. space on the paved basketball court in War Vets Park. Prizes for Best in Show will be awarded in both age categories (ages 10 to 15 and ages 16 and up), but there will also be space where children ages 10 and under can draw for free. Although Taste of Olean/Art in the Park takes place rain or shine, the Chalk Art Contest will be cancelled in the event of rain.
Also new this year, the Rehabilitation Center will host a lawn bocce ball tournament. The tournament will begin at 11am; registration is $50 per team of two, which includes $12 for food/beverages. A cash prize will be awarded to the winning team! To register or for more information, call 716-375-4730.
There’s something for every member of the family to take in at the Taste of Olean/Art in the Park! Not only can visitors enjoy lots of delicious food, but they can also talk to artists about their work and purchase pieces directly from them. Live performances, a talent contest, bounce house, and playground provide additional entertainment throughout the day. To learn more about the Taste of Olean/Art in the Park, including a full schedule of events, Taste menu, and list of participating artists, visit oleanny.com and www.myartscouncil.net.
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