One of the newest Dodge City Days events got off to a great start Friday afternoon when a steady stream of people made their way into the United Wireless Arena for Taste of the Wild West.
The event, sponsored by Wild West Country, Boot Hill Casino & Resort and United Wireless Arena, featured over 40 vendors — many with tasty samples to distribute, others with sparkly baubles and others with tourist information.
The tasty samples seemed to be winning.
Chefs were there from United Wireless Arena and the Boot Hill Casino & Resort, alongside other area food specialists like Enid Scadden from the Boot Hill Bed & Breakfast, the staff from Boot Hill Museum, Clark Pharmacy and Papa D's Pizza.
Tasters could choose from Chef Ryan Emery's mini surf and turf shooters (calf fries and oysters on the half shell), stuffed jalapeno peppers, Cuban roast pork, and an assortments of jams, jellies, pastries, toffee, and even an ice cream sundae station — all for the price of admission, which was $7 in advance and $10 at the door.
"I prepared for 500 people," said Chef Ryan, as he re-stocked displays of smoked salmon, shrimp, and stuffed mushrooms.
"I just brought as much as I could get ready," said Cynthia Thomson, who had equal amounts of culinary morsels and hand-made jewelry.
The atmosphere was festive, boosted by the music of Kari and Billy, two Nashville musicians who are in town for Dodge City Days and playing at a number of venues, including before and after the rodeo.
"We're really happy to be in Dodge," Billy said between songs. "We're having a great time."
The crowd began to fill the arena as soon as the doors opened at 4 p.m. and by 4:30 p.m. the aisles were packed and short lines formed around the more popular treats.
Vendors without little nibbles to give away were feeling a little ignored but everyone was having a great time.
As an addition to the Dodge City Days schedule, Taste of the Wild West is off to a great start.