Oregon’s largest culinary festival is looking east — across the river, that is.
The event, which is Special Olympics Oregon’s largest annual fundraiser, is hosted this year in partnership with the Trail Blazers.
“Over the years as we’ve refined the event, and it became something with fine food and fine wine and craft beers, it changed the whole demographic and it became a demographic that doesn’t really come to waterfront events,” Special Olympics Oregon CEO Margie Hunt said. “Part of the business plan for the Rose Quarter is to be about more than basketball, so bringing the largest culinary festival in the state there fit their agenda as well.”
The Bite of Oregon was once largely focused on rock and roll music, but it’s since become an exhibition of local cuisine. This year, the event will feature the culinary offerings of seven regions of Oregon, spread out in a “festival village” style across the Rose Quarter Commons Area. It will feature more than three dozen vendors.
Representatives of the Rose Quarter, too, are looking forward to the move. The organization also partners with Special Olympics on the Rip City 3 x 3 Tournament, held several weeks ago.
“Our philanthropic priorities really focus on our fan base, the local market where our fans live, learn and play,” said Michael Lewellen, the Trail Blazers VP of corporate communications and public engagement. “We give particular priority to initiatives that give services to young people, so partnering with their organization adds to our brand’s commitment to be supportive of our community that gives so much to us.”
The partnership helps Special Olympics because the team markets the event via social media, at its events and by sending emails to season ticket holders.
And both Special Olympics’ Hunt and Lewellen agree that the event could help revitalize the area east of the river, which is in the midst of major redevelopment.
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