Community festival of food, music and culture returns Saturday

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - A family enjoys some free entertainment at the Bite of East County.Last year more than 3,000 people poured into downtown Fairview to get a taste of the best local restaurants this side of the Willamette River at the first-ever Bite of East County.

Expecting an even bigger turnout this year, the event benefitting hungry and homeless people in East County has moved to Columbia Park at 1900 S.W. Cherry Park Road in Troutdale.

“We’ve got room for people to really enjoy themselves, hang out and relax, eat and drink,” said Stayce Blume, one of the Bite’s organizers. “And kids can play nearby at Imagination Station.”

The family-friendly event featuring food, culture, music and raffles will run Saturday, July 26, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Blume said the idea behind the Bite is to feature businesses in East County, including restaurants, artists and musicians, and to bring the community together while doing something great for a charity.

All proceeds go to Zarephath Kitchen and Pantry, a volunteer organization run by nonprofit Zarephath Ministries, which serves hot meals six days a week and provides food boxes to poor families and homeless people in the Gresham, Troutdale, Wood Village and Fairview area.

Last summer, the Bite of East County collected $5,500 for Zarephath, which translates into about 21,000 pounds of food or roughly 15,000 meals.

“Our goal is $20,000 this year,” Blume said.

The Fairview Business Association, Troutdale Business Association and the city of Troutdale collaborated on the 2014 Bite of East County, which they aim to make an annual event.

“What we are doing at the end of the day is feeding people at the Bite, and homeless people in East County,” Blume said.

The event will feature live music from Midlyfe Crisis and several local bands.

A beer and wine garden will be provided by Skyland Pub and Bumpers Grill & Bar. There will be an assortment of savory and sweet food offered by local restaurants including Alexanders, Bumpers Grill & Bar, Corbett Country Market, G Goodies, Joy Teriyaki, La Mixteca Taqueria and Nicholas Restaurant, as well as desserts from J Gelati and Liberated Baking.

Food prices vary from vendor to vendor, but items range from $2 to $9.

Event sponsors are Harry’s Fresh Foods, Teeny’s Foods and Boyd’s Coffee.

Entry to the Bite costs $5 at the gate. Only cash will be accepted throughout the event.

Seating and tables will be provided, but people are welcome to bring blankets to spread on the grass.

There is ample parking available at Columbia Park and at the adjacent Reynolds High School.

Attendees also can buy tickets for $1 each to vote which restaurant they think is “Best of the Bite.”

The winning restaurant will be announced at the end of the event. Ticket buyers also have the chance to win raffle prizes and a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Founded in 1985 with a mission to feed the hungry in the greater Gresham area, the Zarephath soup kitchen is open Monday through Friday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pantry hours are every weekday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. except Tuesday.

Last year the Pantry and Kitchen served more than 180,000 meals.

For more information or to volunteer at the Bite of East County call 503-347-7547, or visit

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