July 10, 2019 | Story by: Jennifer Timar | Photos by: Gillis Benedict
This article originally appeared here.
A Taste of Brighton organizer Thaddeus McGaffey said he expects this year’s free food, shopping and entertainment festival to be bigger than ever.
“Just over 100 businesses will be on the street this year,” McGaffey said. “When I started seven years ago, there were about 50. We are physically maxed out, no room for one more tent on the street.”
Restaurants, shops, businesses, organizations and performers will take over Main Street between Grand River Avenue and First Street from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“It’s all Brighton brick-and-mortar businesses, and we’ll bring people into town and show them how Brighton has changed and grown,” McGaffey said. “We’ve built a vibrant downtown.”
Great Harvest Bread Company franchisee Mac Hawes said she’s excited to give people ideas for how they can fancy up bread.
The bread store and bakery is among a couple dozen downtown Brighton food establishments participating in the seventh annual A Taste of Brighton.
Eateries will sell samples sizes of signature dishes up and down Main Street.
“We’re doing our classics out there on an electric grill, like hot slices of pizza bread … and an opportunity to make your own pizza slice by picking toppings,” Hawes said. “We’ll also serve cinnamon swirls … and freshly baked cookies.”
In addition to food, about 20 shops will participate and other businesses and organizations will host activities and share information about services, according to the event’s website, brightonmich.com.
Four stages will feature live music beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Other live entertainment will include “jugglers, belly dancers, fire spinners, enchanted statues, swing dancing” and more, according to A Taste of Brighton’s Facebook page.
McGaffey said he is looking forward to fire spinning performances hosted by One Spirit Dance and Fitness at 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the lawn between Brighton Coffeehouse and Theater and the Mill Pond.
Guinness World Records balloon artist Tim Thurmond will make balloon creations for the crowd Friday and Saturday.
In 2015, Thurmond made a balloon sculpture of an octopus that measured 104 feet by 98 feet over the course of four days at Gen Con, a gaming convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was his Guinness World Records attempt for what the organization calls the “largest modelling balloon sculpture by an individual.”
In 2006, he set the record for the “most modelling balloon sculptures made in 24 hours,” 6,176, and then broke his own record by making 8,298 balloon animals in 24 hours during the 2013 Taste of Brighton event.
Inflatable slides and an inflatable obstacle course for kids will be set up on St. Paul Street.
A kids area featuring bounce houses, arts and crafts and science experiments will be set up on Mill Pond Lane.
A dog cooling station with AstroTurf, watering stations and a pet agility course will be set up on the lawn between Brighton Coffeehouse and Theater and the Mill Pond.
“Something new this year, we’re adding a shuttle service to help with parking that will run between the Meijer Park and Ride lot, downtown and Brighton High School,” McGaffey said.
A Taste of Brighton is a nonprofit organization run by a board that relies on sponsorship and volunteers.