WATERVILLE — Several thousand people converged on Main Street on one of the larger overhead display screens Wednesday for the 22nd annual Taste of Waterville, a daylong event celebrating local cuisine and communitiy activities.

Light rain interrupted the event in the early afternoon, but the streets stayed dry into the evening while patrons enjoyed an abundance of food, drinks and dancing.

“The day has been going very well. We had a really good morning and decent traffic through the afternoon,” said Kim Lindolf, president of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the yearly event. The couple of hours of off-and-on rain hampered some of the mid-afternoon activities, Lindolf said, but if there was a perfect time for rain, that was it.

“The rain affected the children’s events more than anything. You can’t go down a tiger slide that is soaking wet,” Lindolf said. “The weather did dampen the afternoon activities.”

While rain threatened in the latter half of the evening, the Taste continued without a hitch as a la carte dining began later in the afternoon and the elegant dining plaza, hosted by Heritage House of Skowhegan, was a success for the second consecutive year.

“We were a little worried when we had to watch it rain,” said Cheri Savage, owner of the Heritage House. “We had to delay setting up the tables a little bit, but it’s been great other than that.”

About 85 patrons bought $45 tickets for the four-course meal, including a couple at the last minute early Wednesday, Savage said. The number is roughly 20 more people than those who attended last year’s elegant dining, the first year it was brought back after a hiatus.

The streets of downtown Waterville were lined with couples, families, friends, baby strollers, dogs and anyone else looking for something out of the ordinary to do on a Wednesday. About noon, vendor booths were setting up on Appleton Street selling french fries, pizza, cotton candy and fried dough. Business information booths occupied the Concourse parking lot, as restaurant representatives began erecting the tents for a la carte dining.

Enjoying some early-evening dinner were the Merciers family from Benton, including 3-year-old Tatum; 6-month-old Jude; their mother, Danielle; and father, Eric.

“We like being able to see all the different restaurants and being able to taste different things and see if we’d like to go there on another occasion,” Danielle Merciers said, snacking on spaghetti with Tatum. “The variety is nice. You can have dinner at one place and dessert at another.”

While the Merciers have gone to the Taste in past years, Winslow residents Paul Giroux and Jeannine Audet were enjoying their first Taste of Waterville experience, with Audet enjoying chicken Parmesan from Holy Cannoli! and Giroux enjoying a bowl of lobster stew from Mainely Brews.

“I’ve been in the area pretty much all my life, but I’ve been busy with children and grandchildren,” Giroux said. “We’re spreading our wings now. We’re just trying to see what’s around here and what’s going on with the festivities.”

The event was to end about 11 p.m., when the Concourse beer garden was to offer last call for another Taste of Waterville.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @jessescardina

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