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Taste of the Town, October 9, 2012

The 29th annual fund-raiser for St. Andrews Catholic School will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9, and will see thousands flock to the Convention Center floor to sample some of the tastiest dishes in town.

But Taste of the Town is also the social event of the season. You're sure to run into long-lost friends and make a few new ones in a festive atmosphere that's as much about friendship as the food.

Giant tables that run the width of the convention hall create some unique seating situations where you are sitting beside folks from all generations and all walks of life. The vibe is fun and friendly as table talk turns to which dishes you should try next.

The event features live music and entertainment, and there's a dance floor for those who want to boogie off a few calories. There's also a a vineyard wine patio and beer garden, a Kids Zone with inflatables, a rock-climbing wall and other activities for children, but food is the main draw.

Approximately 60 restaurants and bars from all over the Strand converge on this festival of food to put their best recipes to the test against the best. Professional judges and average Joes get to vote on their favorites in various categories.

Judges and peoples’ choice awards are given for best entree, best dessert and best booth design. Each restaurant goes all out to decorate their booths to match the theme of their flavors and atmosphere.

Some of the repeat winners and most popular participants and entries include the Sea Captain's House famous She Crab Soup, Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse's Grilled Combination Platter, Bomini's Oyster Bar's Fried Oysters and Cakes By The Sea's Tiramasu.

This year's lineup features several seafood offerings, including 21 Main at North Beach, Bliss Seafood Restaurant & Lounge, Blue Crab Oysters Steamers & Raw Bar, Bubba’s Fish Shack, Divine Fish House and Docksider’s Waterfront Grille serving up popular samples from the sea.

Other participating restaurants include Blue Elephant Thai Cuisine, Carolina Roadhouse, House of Blues, Kono Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi, Liberty Tap Room & Grill, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, Murray's Savory and Sweets, New York Prime Steakhouse, Pizza Romano and Sticky Fingers Ribs.

Tickets to Taste of the Town are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Food sample tickets are $1 apiece with most items ranging between two and four tickets. The event runs from 4 to 10 p.m.