Celebrate Saratoga becomes Taste of Saratoga

September 17, 2008 — by Karen Lyu

The popular nighttime event “Celebrate Saratoga” has been replaced this year by a daytime festival known as “Taste of Saratoga,” to be held on Sept. 20.

Rather than a street dance, this year’s event will be more similar to an art and wine festival. By making this change, the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce hopes that Taste of Saratoga will create a better business environment, while continuing the fund raising effort begun by the Street Dance.

“It has to change. It has to be a better event, not just for the residents, but for the greater community,” president of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce Vance Nelson told the San Jose Mercury News.

The changes to the popular event were brought up because of a few major issues. Last year, teens and adults alike enjoyed the event, but underage drinking was a large problem. Reports of fights occurring between guests and accidents happening; a 16-year-old girl who was hit by a car after the festival also helped to bring to the forefront the need for alterations.

Another major change is that the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this year instead of the usual evening time frame. Some regular street dance guests disagree with this change, arguing that an event during the day will lack the excitement that previously drew such large crowds.

“I feel as though it ruins the ‘night life’ atmosphere [the Street Dance] had,” said senior Armaan Mahbod. “To me, the Street Dance was like a night extravaganza of fun with crazy games, good food and music to share with your friends and family.”

Although the event will still take place on Big Basin Way, a new set up will cause the street to look different this year. In place of the teen zone, there will be a food court. Vendor booths, selling just about everything, will line the middle of the street.

Though he is nervous about how these changes will be received, Nelson hopes that the Taste of Saratoga will be embraced by the community.
“Residents had always given us great support for it,” Nelson told the Mercury News. “[But,] we’re taking a big chance here.”

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