Taste of South Routt draws a crowd to Oak Creek | SteamboatToday.com

Taste of South Routt draws a crowd to Oak Creek

Luke Graham

and Renee Fox will be featured this month at K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat Springs.

— The mystery beer was a big hit Saturday at the 16th annual Taste of South Routt.

The annual event in Decker Park saw hands filled with a nod to college parties and cheap swill.

Old Milwaukee, Stroh's and Pabst Blue Ribbon all were cold fillers on a hot day.

Of course the beer wasn't — and isn't — the only hit at the Oak Creek staple.

The event drew hundreds from the town and across the county for a festive atmosphere that was equal parts community barbecue and commerce.

"It's all these people," organizer Julie Hoff said. "Everyone I know from here comes out. It's the one place you can see all your friends in one place. You get to taste the community, the food and the music."

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More than 25 vendors offered tastes of their special foods — from Lupita’s Cantina fish tacos to Rachel’s Smokin’ BBQ — as well as arts, crafts and informational stations.

Several bands entertained the crowd, children ran around with their faces painted and the food was top notch.

The event is organized by the South Routt Economic Development Council and isn’t a moneymaker for the organization or most of the vendors.

The Economic Development Council also was celebrating the launch of its new website, a collaboration between the group, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and local business owners.

A good portion of the vendors were South Routt businesses, something Hoff said remains the focal point of the event in her fifth year running it.

"We like to keep it South Routt businesses because it makes sense," she said.

But the name alone speaks to the event. For a good look at the culture and pizzazz the small Routt County community provides, Saturday offered a pretty good portrait.

Vendors filled the park offering crafts, food and education.

"We've come the last four years," said Michelle Mahosky, who with her husband, Ryan, runs the Echo Valley Family Farm. "We like this a lot. As we've slowly grown our business, we've been able to do stuff like this. We really enjoy it. It's a good atmosphere. It's a nice break."

As the mystery beers flowed, the music played and children played in a sprinkler or took tractor rides, Lupita's Cantina was churning out delicious chicken and fish tacos. The line slung around as owner Lawrence Jaconetta manned the grill, mystery beer in hand.

"It's getting to see everyone in South Routt at once," he said. "It's like a powder day. You know you don't see people for the longest time and then on a powder day you see everyone you know at the gondola. There is nothing better than getting good food and good people together and enjoying each other."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com