Only about 4,500 people attended the 31st annual Taste of Bloomington on Saturday, which is about half of what organizers had expected.
Rain moved into Bloomington around 3 p.m., and storm clouds stuck around throughout most of the afternoon and evening, keeping many people inside.
Taste of Bloomington serves as an important source of funding for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the Community Kitchen of Monroe County and the low turnout could affect the money they receive this year.
“They have to look at the overall cost of the event, and then once all the expenses are in they’ll see what kind of quote-unquote profit was made, and then they’ll be able to determine what’s going to each organization,” says Hoosier Hills Executive Director Julio Alonso.
Hoosier Hills, which has been receiving a portion of proceeds from Taste for at least 15 years, typically receives upwards of $7,000 from the event.
Taste of Bloomington co-director Talisha Coppock said she will not know exactly how much money was brought in until she gets final tallies from the restaurants in August, but she said she’s hopeful a break in the weather later in the day brought in some sales.
“The restaurants were all very patient during all of this,” Coppock said. “When everything opened back up again, they were able to get in some pretty significant sales during that time.”
Ray McConn, owner of Mother Bear’s Pizza, said his team’s sales were down about 40 percent from past years.
“I think the weather, obviously very different weather situation, but that’s the way it works out sometimes,” McConn said. “Most of the time it works out just fine, but this year this was just not the case.”
Coppock said despite the weather, she was pleased to see residents turn out.
“I was really impressed by the people who came, even though it was sprinkling a little bit,” Coppock said. “I think that is a testament to how strong people feel about coming to the event. We’ve got a great community!”
More than 40 local restaurants and breweries participated in the event. A few live musical performances had to be cancelled to take precautions with electrical equipment, but most carried on as scheduled.