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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Concord Township uncorks a terrific summer event

Concord Township officials got it right.

Oh, so right.

Their first "Concord Uncorked" event, which took place Friday, Aug. 16, at the Town Hall complex at Ravenna Road and Route 608, was pitch perfect all night long.

I'm not sure how early they put in their order for perfect weather, but the sunshine, cool temperatures and no wind were a great backdrop for an event that should become a summer staple.

Billed as a sampling party for area wines and craft beers, the event gave neighbors the chance to catch up and for visitors to sample the hospitality found in one of Lake County's gems.

Under the sampling tent were wines from such producers as Ferrante, and beers that ranged from the light, fruity Shock Top Shandy to the Roo Brew Litigation Lager.

To go along with the drinks were some of Northeast Ohio's most popular food trucks, which serve up meals all around the Cleveland area.

I headed straight for Zydeco Bistro, and was floored by the jambalaya. Some serious flavor was packed in that bowl loaded with shredded pork and sausage. The flavor wasn't melt-the-roof-off-your-mouth heat. Rather, it was a terrific blend of spices that rose up slowly. As a cole slaw connoisseur, I had to try the hot pink Zydeco Slaw, which blended red and white cabbage with carrots in a vinegar-based dressing. I'm a fan of dry cole slaw, and this was outstanding. If you don't like vinegar, though, you might want to beg off, because this one has intense flavor.

In the background throughout the night was music from steel drum band The Raybans. Another perfect touch. Everyone's been to an event that's pretty much ended when the band that's a little too loud and a little too electric begins to play. They were spot-on for a gorgeous summer night.

The evening ended with a little show by Concord Township Trustee Christopher Galloway as he handled a prize ceremony that included a 50/50 drawing and a large auction. He knew he had a trapped audience, because winners had to be present to collect their prizes, but he kept what could have become a paint-drying moment light and quickly paced.

It was fun to see Galloway and his fellow trustees, Paul Malchesky and Connie Luhta, working the crowd. I'm just hopeful that they heard as much praise as pitches for work within the township.

They certainly deserved it for this event. I wasn't sure what to expect when it was first announced, because how many people really want to stand around in a parking lot all night?

Turns out that a lot of them do, and they had a great time doing it.

Here's hoping that Concord Uncorked 2, in Summer 2014, will be as much fun as this debut edition.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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