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Tasting your way around Tacoma's summer

Festivals and events and food

Point Defiance Park turns into a giant restaurant when the Taste of Tacoma takes over June 26-28. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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Tis the season ... for eating. Sure, that is usually a statement applied to the winter holidays, but let's get real, dinner surrounded by snot nosed distant cousins and crazy uncles are not all they're cracked up to be. Summer, however, equate to glorious sunny days, long walks and waterfronts, and let us not forget its festival season. The masses gather to celebrate the arts, culture, music, summer and regardless of the main attraction it is food and drink that is ever present. We as a species connect over food and drink. We dine together and it is far more brilliant to do it outdoors, basking in the rays of sunshine at picnic tables or warm spots in the grass. Here are a few of my favorite foodie festivals this summer. There is a plethora to choose from, so this list is a mere glimpse of what the area has to offer.

A new kid on the block is the 1st annual Tacoma Waterfront Crab Feed June 25, from 5:30-9 p.m. Taking place on the majestic Foss Waterway Seaport, this event is all about the grub - all-you-can-eat crab and all for a good cause, with proceeds benefitting the Tacoma Waterfront Association. Festivities include raffles, a silent auction and a ring toss, and with the bill only being a cool $40 ($300 for a table for eight), you can leave with a happy heart and full belly. 705 Dock Street, see  brownpapertickets.com/event/1433045 for details and ticket sales

June 26-28 marks the largest foodie themed festival in Pierce County, with the Taste of Tacoma. Point Defiance Park is filled to the brim with loads of mobile food vendors with an impressive selection from exotic food fare to grubbing classics. Add to that a wine tasting among the roses, a large beer garden for lovers of the hops and all day cooking demos by local chefs - all paired with carnival fun, artisan vendors from far and wide and live entertainment - this is an all-day affair and fun for the whole family (even your furry friends can come). Tasteoftacoma.com

Though Art on the Ave is more of a celebration of arts and music scene, "The Ave" is a culinary metropolis in and of itself. On July 12, enjoy live art demos, while shopping with over 100 local vendors. It's unclear if this year will host the usual Grub Crawl, but since the Ave is lined with loads of options, its sure to provide a culinary adventure paired with the artsy festival experience. Artontheave.net

It's all in the name, Food Truck Fest, and it happens July 15.  Metro Parks invites the mobile food truck trend to fill Wright Park for a day of noshing. There's even live entertainment provided by Stephanie Anne Johnson, Tacoma native and former contender on The Voice. It all goes down from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 501 S. I St., Tacoma

Picturesque waterfront town, Steilacoom, hosts an annual Salmon Bake along Sunnyside Beach every final Sunday in July. For $14, you get a salmon dinner or $6 for hotdog if fish isn't your thing. You can support the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association and enjoy live entertainment and the sunshine before its brief presence is missed and mourned. This year, it falls on the 26th, so save the date. Sunnyside Beach, Steilacoom

Broadway Center of Performing Arts presents Brew Five Three Aug. 8 from 1-8 p.m. This block party styled event includes over 30 Washington state brewers, local food trucks and live music - and isn't for the kiddies. This event is 21 and up. Tickets are available online now for $25 and include taster tokens and a commemorative pint glass. 901 Broadway, Tacoma, broadwaycenter.org

And finally, end it all with the Mobile Food Fest, Aug. 22 from noon to 7 p.m. This is another celebration of the mobile foodnik movement with a gathering of mobile food trucks from all over the PNW at the Sprinker Recreation Center. Live entertainment and a beer garden are said to be in the works, too. 14824 C St. S., Tacoma, piercecountywa.org/mobilefoodfest

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