Taste of South Routt ‘a big family reunion’

Annual event draws a crowd of 600

Nicole Inglis
Bryan Vandenburg, 3, indulges in a sugary treat at the 14th annual Taste of South Routt on Saturday in Oak Creek. Organizers with the South Routt Economic Development Council said 600 people attended the event throughout the day.
Nicole Inglis

— It was barely 3 p.m., and Rachel Green was starting to run out of her renowned barbecue fixings for the crowds at Taste of South Routt.

At a nearby booth, Lawrence Jaconetta, owner of Lupita’s Cantina, had run out of fish for his tacos as he tried to keep up with the lines.

With temperatures in the 80s, live music blasting from the speakers, activities for children and cold beer, the scene Saturday at Decker Park was tough to resist.

Six hundred people filed into the park for the 14th annual Taste of South Routt festival, which offered samples of local fare, services and the community spirit of South Routt.

“It’s one of those magical days when we hit the right note on everything,” said John Grout, a local restaurant owner and president of the South Routt Economic Development Council.

The South Routt EDC organized the event, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Funds from the $1 door charge will help the EDC with scholarships and development programs.

Mike Vandenburg, a Stagecoach resident, said he was attending his second Taste of South Routt with his family. As the afternoon sun slid down in the sky, he sat with friends and cold beer among the flora of the park’s beer garden.

“It’s fun and entertaining,” Vandenburg said. “And there’s beer here. The food, the vendors and the music is just amazing. There’s a lot of fun family stuff.”

Vandenburg’s son, 3-year-old Bryan, took part in many of the children’s activities, including having his face painted like a cat and consuming at least two spools of cotton candy.

Other children romped on the playground and rode around on the barrel train. Booths from the Oak Creek and Phippsburg historical societies, local banks and the South Routt Libraries offered activities.

Carol and Bob Bolt, of Michigan, said they were visiting the area and decided to give the festival a shot.

It might have been worth it just for a chance to sample a Lupita’s taco, but the couple also got to witness a community coming together.

“We might have to come back next year,” Bob Bolt said, licking cilantro and salsa from his fingers.

“I love this,” Carol said. “The weather, the people, the food … it’s neat to see a community come out and celebrate. It must have taken a lot of effort.”

As evidenced by the mellow social vibe in Decker Park, South Routt is a community whose members look out for one another. So it’s no surprise that Grout decided to donate the revenues from his booth for the Oak Restaurant to the family of Abby Voorhis, a first-grader who couldn’t make the festivities because she’s in treatment for leukemia.

After he counted out $300 to give to the Voorhises, he was approached by Jaconetta, who offered up $150 of his earnings.

As evening approached, the beer garden buzzed and the bluegrass rhythms of local band Old River Road kicked into gear. But most didn’t appear to be ready to leave their conversations.

“It’s almost like a big family reunion,” Grout said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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