The Taste of Laurel is back for its seventh year.
The Laurel Historical Society is hosting the event on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The entrance will be at the Laurel Museum, 817 Main St.
Main Street Pharmacy in Laurel will be sponsoring the event and has been the Taste of Laurel sponsor since its inception.
Lindsey Baker, Laurel Historical Society executive director, said Taste of Laurel has grown more popular each year.
The first year 80 people attended, but since then the event has drawn crowds of almost 300 people. This year, they hope to have an even better turnout, Baker said.
"We continue to organize the event because we like to support locally owned businesses in Laurel and it highlights the diversity of the food we have here," Baker said.
Admission is one can of food that will be donated to a local food program. In the past, the food has been donated to Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services.
Visitors will be able to visit tables set up by the restaurants and try free samples. Last year, there were close to 15 restaurants. The Historical Society does not have a definitive list of vendors for this year yet, but Baker said Laurel restaurants The Curry Leaf, Toucan Taco, Mangos and Nuzbacks have all confirmed and will be in attendance.
Toucan Taco, a Mexican, family owned restaurant, has participated in the event for all seven years, said Toucan Taco owner Ginger Reeves.
"It is neat to see people who have never eaten here before try our food," Reeves, 51, said.
Reeve's parents first opened Toucan Taco as Tippy's Taco in 1972. Reeves bought the restaurant from her parents, Lita and Lasvlo Payerle, in 2008.
Taste of Laurel only features locally owned businesses, and Reeves said she likes the unique community feel.
"It's not the same foods you can get anywhere," Reeves said.
For the event, Reeves plans to hand out Toucan Taco's "famous" chili con queso and give out "Toucan Bucks," which can be used like cash at the restaurant. It is all about giving back to the community, said Reeves.
Other restaurants will be offering similar giveaways
Baker said Taste of Laurel is a good way for businesses to attract new customers.
"We hope it helps businesses get their name out there but also develop a relationship with the community," Baker said.
Each year, the Taste of Laurel also features an exhibit at the Laurel Museum. The event was born out of an exhibit featured seven years ago, which was about advertising in Laurel, said Baker.
This year's exhibit, called "Lost and Found Laurel," pairs nicely with the Taste of Laurel event because it showcases past and present restaurants, Baker said.
"We are excited to support local businesses and let the community get a real taste of what Laurel has to offer this year because it fits so well with our current exhibit," Baker said. "Lost and Found Laurel highlights not only some of the wonderful restaurants that have called Laurel home in the past, but also some of the great ones that are still with us today."
Laurel Museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Sundays 1-4 p.m. The "Lost and Found Laurel" exhibit will be on display until Dec. 21.
Gillian Morley is a University of Maryland graduate student.