‘Get Your Taste On’ for Free2B! next Thursday

A fundraiser next Thursday at the National Sports Center in Blaine will give the community a sample of local cuisines while helping people meet their transportation needs.

Get Your Taste On is 4:30-8 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Sports Expo Center, 1740 105th Ave. NE. The fundraiser will benefit local non-profit Free2B!

The Taste of Blaine is now called Get Your Taste On, but the format and location has not changed. There will be 31 restaurants and hospitality businesses at the National Sport Center’s Sports Expo Center, 1740 105th Ave. NE, in Blaine 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. File photo by Eric Hagen

The Taste of Blaine is now called Get Your Taste On, but the format and location has not changed. There will be 31 restaurants and hospitality businesses at the National Sport Center’s Sports Expo Center, 1740 105th Ave. NE, in Blaine 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. File photo by Eric Hagen

Tickets are $35 in advance and can be ordered by calling 763-717-7755 or by visiting www.freetobeinc.org. Tickets are $45 at the door.

Although the fundraiser is no longer called Taste of Blaine, Free2B!, Executive Director Jim Huff said the format is the same. There will once again be over 30 restaurants and hospitality companies from multiple communities.

At 6 p.m., a local family will receive a 2004 Ford minivan from North Country Ford of Coon Rapids, according to Huff. Free2B! has a mission of helping people in tough economic circumstances get the transportation help they need whether it is volunteers repairing their vehicles or through used car donations.

Some new vendors this year include Courtyards of Andover, Two Stooges in Fridley, and the Mermaid Event Center in Mounds View.

Huff became the Free2B! executive director last June, but has attended this event before, so he and others could see that this was more than a taste of what Blaine restaurants have to offer. Blaine is well represented, but businesses also come from neighboring communities like Anoka and Coon Rapids. Huff said one vendor is coming from Isanti this year.

“Everybody loved the event, but they thought the city of Blaine put it on or that only restaurants from Blaine could be involved. Those both weren’t accurate,” Huff said.

To better reflect what the event is, Free2B! decided to change the name. Huff said there will be no other fundamental changes though. What he likes the most about the event is that there is no dress code. It is not a black tie fundraiser. People come in blue jeans or suits. Wear whatever you are most comfortable in while eating a lot of food.

Huff joked that he would have loved to incorporate the tag line, “Walk in, waddle out.”

“It’s a very casual way to spend a couple of hours and eat more than we should,” Huff said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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