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Taste of St. Louis drives economy during major festival weekend

The event brought in visitors, locals and foot traffic from Tower Grove Pride and the Hispanic Festival.

ST. LOUIS — You could “taste the memories” in Downtown St. Louis for one of the city's largest food festivals on Saturday.

It is one of several events that drove the experience and the economy throughout the city this weekend.

Mary Beth Hollien and her new friends, who were all in town for a conference downtown, learned about the “Taste of St. Louis” and decided to attend.

The group was drawn in by the flavors of more than 30 restaurants that packed out Ballpark Village.

"I'm going to go do the Arch tomorrow and the Riverboat and it's just been a fantastic weekend. I got here on Wednesday night. And delicious. It's an amazing town. I had a great time and hopefully, I'll come back," Hollien said.

The event is one of the Edney family's favorite things to do in the hometown.

"We wanted to come out and just enjoy this space. The food. The fellowship. The people. and the weather is great as well,” said Albert Edney.

"It's really cool to just see everybody here at once and kind of experience the whole thing and it's just like the environment,” his daughter Grace added.

Organizers told 5 On Your Side the event would bring in about 50,000 people throughout the course of the three-day run. That included both visitors and locals.

The event also exchanged foot traffic from all of the other events happening throughout the city such as the Greater St. Louis Hispanic Festival in Soulard and Tower Grove Pride.

“Each time we bring in a festival into St. Louis, it's going to add to the economic benefit to the city of St. Louis. Even sponsors that are not necessarily from St. Louis. The great thing is, it sort of bleeds in through St. Louis,” said Chuck Justice, festival organizer.

The food frenzy gives cuisine creatives like Jordan Franks a space to thrive. He served up his self-made salsa.

"This was a quarantine creation. Like a lot of people, we started during the pandemic. Sitting in the house bored. Wanted a snack. Didn't go grocery shopping because we were scared to back in the day," Franks said.

Andrew She was honored to share his Hawaiian heritage at his restaurant Pokedoke’s booth.

“It's very prideful to give part of the community give back. Especially at the Taste of St. Louis to see people in the same boat as me," she said.

Taste of St. Louis will continue Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Hispanic Festival in Soulard Park and Tower Grove PRIDE in the Park are also resuming Sunday, both beginning at 11 a.m.

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