Taste of DC Is Leaving Pennsylvania Avenue (and It's Not Taking Cash)

WASHINGTON — This year’s Taste of DC will have a different flavor, as organizers make a few changes — most notably to its place setting.

The Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium will be 2017’s site for the annual festival of food, beverage and music. It had been held on Pennsylvania Avenue since its start in 1989.

The new location offers more parking and Metro accessibility, and it allows organizers to expand hours, said Steuart Martens, Taste of DC CEO.

“RFK, frankly, is just a good fit for the event,” he said.

More than 65 of the region’s restaurants will offer fare on Taste’s Restaurant Row, including Rocklands Barbeque, District Doughnut and Chart House Alexandria.

Adult beverage lovers can sample local wines and specialty beers. A beer garden will feature live music, lawn games and roaming performers.

Entertainmentwise, this year’s Taste of DC showcases music and culinary presentations on three stages. Younger attendees can check out the Kids Zone, and the shopping-hungry can peruse the Artisan Market’s local businesses.

As the event will be held near D.C.’s quintessential sports landmark, another type of heated competition will be featured Sunday: the ABW Chili Cook-Off.

Also new at this year’s Taste of DC: how you pay.

Instead of cash, a credit card or prepaid tickets, attendees can pay for it all with a wristband. The radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in the “Taste Band” makes for quick transactions and minimal time in line. Gourmands can add value (aka “taste tokens”) to their Taste Bands at several kiosks around the site.

There will be a limited number of wristbands available at the gate, but Martens recommends ordering them in advance.

“It’s just a smoother process to do it in advance and online,” Martens said.

Taste of DC runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. A “Taste After Dark” event for adults is set for 7–10 p.m. Saturday. Taste Bands are available at the door with a bar code (either on a printed ticket or a phone). Order and learn more on the Taste of DC website.

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