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The Taste of Kent, with all its delicious samples from area eateries and catering companies, is a staple of the Kent Business and Community Expo, and, because of its popularity, has been extended a half hour this year.
In the past, the Taste of Kent has run from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but after years of expo-goers trying to get a bite to eat early, Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lori Wemhoff said she decided to extend it to 11 a.m to 2 p.m.
Tickets are exchanged for tastes from the participating food stops at the Taste of Kent, located in the Theodore Roosevelt High School cafeteria, and are $1 per ticket or $5 for six tickets.
New to the Taste of Kent this year are Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, a popular shop in Kent that sells coffee both wholesale and retail; Rise and Shine Cafe, a breakfast, soup and sandwich shop opening soon in Acorn Alley II; and Aunt Mary Ann Donuts, located next to Hungry Howie's Pizza on S.R. 59.
Ryan Brannon of Bent Tree Coffee said the business has yet to narrow down which of its specialty blends it will bring, but is very excited to be a part of the expo.
"We'll offer our delicious, fresh-roasted samples, talk about the roasting process, the various countries we import our beans from and our custom blends," Brannon said.
Since Rise and Shine Cafe is on target to open up in late May in the former Funky Ladles space in Acorn Alley II, its booth at the Taste of Kent will offer a sneak peak of what's in store.
Karen Leggett, who co-owns the business with Mike Awad, said Rise and Shine plans to bring out a waffle bar for the Taste of Kent.
"We'll be offering waffles with different waffle toppings and juice," Leggett said. "I think it'll be fun and we'll have a great time doing it."
They'll be plenty of familiar businesses at the Taste of Kent as well, including the Bistro on Main, Fairways of Twin Lakes, Little City Caterers, Popped!, Ramella's Pizzeria, Ray's Place, Seven Chairs Special Events, The Sweet Tooth and Tree City Coffee & Pastry.
Be sure to bring your appetite.