Fenton — Like father like son, Jamil Brown, 12, and father Jamil Brown Sr. of Flint Township, were both participants in eating contests at Taste in Fenton on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Jamil was in the doughnut-eating contest, and his father was in the pie-eating contest. When asked about the event, Brown Sr. said, “I think it’s good, it gets everyone out of the house.”
Jamil didn’t repeat his success in winning like last year, but he still gets a year’s worth of doughnuts from CRUST A Baking Company along with the other participants.
It seemed like everyone attended the 19th annual summer food sampler event, hosted by the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce. There were 21 businesses and restaurants providing food and hundreds visiting downtown. There was music, feats of strength, contests, food, beverages and networking with several businesses and organizations that set up tents in the park.
“This is happening, this is pretty big,” said Stephanie Perrie of Tyrone Township as she chatted with friends on the lawn of Rackham Park, which was full of visitors with tickets waiting in line behind her.
Families and friends gathered filling every corner of the normally quiet park, with the Shiawassee River winding behind them. Many hid from the bright summer sun by the abundance of shade trees.
The tickets were sold in strips of 10 for $10. Restaurants decided how many tickets a single item cost.
Matt Sherrow, Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce chairman, estimates up to 3,000 people came to the event. “The Fenton area has seen tremendous growth over the last decade and that was certainly showcased yesterday,” he said.
Changes from last year include more space for guests and cocktails from the Relief & Resource Co.
“I love these events because it creates an enormous sense of community,” Sherrow said. Aside from being a family friendly event, Sherrow said, “It gives our community an opportunity to try many restaurants that they hadn’t been able to visit or didn’t know existed.”
Winners at taste in Fenton 2019
Taste in Fenton is about sampling the fare of local businesses, but also fun contests. There were several Wednesday.
The pie-eating contest winner was Chris Hicks of Fenton, who took home the $500 prize.
The doughnut-eating contest winner was Cody Dawes, 12, of Fenton.
The 50/50 raffle winner was Brad Emerton. He took home $460 of the $920 raised in the raffle. His wife Jen picked it up, very surprised at the sudden financial bonus. The other $460 will go to the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce scholarship fund.
The Fenton Winery and Brewery (FWB) ran their beer stein-holding contest. Participants held up an 18-ounce water-filled stein, arm straight, for as long as possible. Winners got to keep their FWB stein and won a free wine club membership.
The women’s winner was Kelly Holmes of Tyrone Township, holding up her stein for eight minutes.
The men’s winner was Mike Adams, 64, of Linden, holding his up for nearly 15 minutes.