Get your taste at Yukon’s ‘fare affair’

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Yukon Progress, Yukon Review, Life In Narrative, Conrad Dudderar

Are you ready to get your taste?

Mouths have started watering across Yukon and surrounding towns as the date of our epic food festival inches closer.

It’s nearly time for a big spring fare affair, the “Taste of Yukon.” Taste bud-tickling will swing into full gear on Thursday, March 28 when local restaurants provide delectable samples of their beloved dishes.

Have your taste anytime between 5:30-7:30 p.m. But get there early because parking is at a premium! This year’s Taste of Yukon holds special significance because it marks the 20th year for the foodie frenzy.

I recall that first year of the Taste of Yukon, which was brought to this community by the then-new Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Jan Scott.

Jan had seen the success of similar food tasting events in other communities and thought it would be a great addition to Yukon. Was she right (as she often is)! Jan came from Edmond and introduced or expanded innovative special programs in our community.

Those first few years, there weren’t even enough Yukon restaurants to fill the Dale Robertson Center for the Taste of Yukon. Several Oklahoma City restaurants were enlisted to complete the tasty participant roster.

Over the past 20 years, the Taste of Yukon has become one of our residents’ favorite spring traditions. Even people from neighboring communities come to check it out. The Taste of Yukon is a great opportunity to try food from restaurant and cafes that you may not regularly frequent.

Best of all, you can keep tasting until your buttons pop.

As Yukon has grown, so has the Taste of Yukon. There already are 20 confirmed participants who will share their cuisine with hungry diners on March 28. And the event is still more than two weeks away.

The Yukon “area” has seen a restaurant boon in recent years, such that there is no shortage of local eateries to participate in this epic food tasting festival. In fact, it could be said the Taste of Yukon has outgrown the venue.

If it grew any larger, the crowd would be at risk of spilling out into the adjacent Mabel C. Fry Library, climbing atop bookshelves and the circulation desk as they devour Yukon’s finest fare! (Librarian Sara Schieman and the Ladies Library Club would have something to say about that).

This year’s 20th anniversary Taste of Yukon will feature several first-time participants, including new restaurants like Urban Taco and Cheddars Scratch Kitchen. Too bad LongHorn Steakhouse in Czech Hall Marketplace isn’t quite ready to open. Well, there’s always next year!

Yukon’s dining landscape certainly has evolved over the past three decades.

When I first came to Yukon in the early 1990s, just about the only sit-down restaurants were Harry Bears, Poquitos and Kim Son. For many years, people frequently left Yukon, heading to Oklahoma City and Edmond for quality dining experiences.

My, how times have changed!

We have so many great choices in the Yukon area, just minutes from our homes. Yukon has a terrific mix of chain restaurants and locally owned eateries, enough to satisfy any and all taste buds. Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, you name it. Still waiting for a Greek or Indian restaurant, though.

The 20th annual Taste of Yukon on March 28 will be your chance to enjoy some new food experiences, perhaps from restaurants you haven’t tried yet.

Besides being an ideal way to fill your tummy, the Taste of Yukon is a prime social event where you’ll meet old friends and make new ones. Get advance tickets at www.yukonok.gov or from any Yukon Parks & Rec center. See you there!

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TRIVIA: The YPS Foundation for Excellence presented 30 grants to teachers last fall. Four teachers received grants in the Foundation’s first year in 1991. What was unique about where these four teachers worked? If you think you know, email me at conrad@yukonprogress.com

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It is nearly time for an annual event that recognizes the Yukon school district’s “best of the best.” Yes, this event is called exactly that …. “The Event” to honor Yukon Public Schools’ “Teacher of the Year.”

The celebration will be 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28 at the Events Center at 10 West Main. This is where the YPS 2019-20 “Teacher of the Year” will be announced from among 11 district finalists … each representing their school.

The announcement of the district winner will highlight an event that also features the unveiling of Yukon’s “Rookie Teacher of the Year” and “Support Employee of the Year.”

“The Event” is organized by YPS Community Engagement director D’Lynne McDaniel and special programs coordinator Morissa VanHoutan, who are turning to school supporters for help.

D’Lynne and Morissa need businesses to contribute items for teacher gift bags and to be event sponsors. Do you part by contributing to the cause. Call 354-2579.