City of Muskegon Agrees to Produce Taste of Muskegon

MUSKEGON, MI – After building up the highly successful and popular Taste of Muskegon event over the past 11 years, Downtown Muskegon Now and the city of Muskegon have agreed to transfer the local downtown festival to the city.

Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson and DMN Chairman Andy Maciejewski have signed a “letter of understanding” in passing the Taste of Muskegon event to the city with the goal of sustaining and growing the event celebrating Muskegon food, community and local businesses.

“The Taste of Muskegon over the past few years has outgrown our small agency’s ability to produce and take the risk for such a large annual event in Hackley Park,” Maciejewski said. “The DMN board is grateful for the hard work and dedication of the volunteer team that took a struggling event and created one of the largest gatherings in Hackley Park every year.”

Taste of Muskegon — the third weekend of June in 2017 — drew record crowds both Friday night as a Party in the Park and all day Saturday. The event was a huge boost for the nearly two dozen food vendors who had significant sales and were able to promote their products and restaurants.

After looking for a non-profit to take over the Taste of Muskegon, DMN entered discussions with city officials, who want to keep the event as a kickoff to the downtown Muskegon festival season.

“We want to continue to support and build up downtown events and activities,” Peterson said of the city’s interest in Taste of Muskegon. “We see this event raising funds to support community projects to better the quality of life for everyone in the city.”

Taste of Muskegon proceeds will support programs and events at the city’s Muskegon Farmers Market, Western Market, Hackley Park, Pere Marquette Park and the Smith-Ryerson Playfield among other city facilities, city officials said.

“We hope that longtime Taste of Muskegon sponsors, organizers and volunteers will help us keep building and improving the event that draws a wide variety of people from across the community,” Peterson said of an event slated for the weekend of June 15-16, 2018.

The city of Muskegon has incorporated many of the Taste of Muskegon vendors into its popular Food Truck Rallies this summer at the Muskegon Farmers Market. Next year’s Taste of Muskegon is expected to launch an expanded schedule of Food Truck Rallies at the market for 2018.

Key to the recent success of Taste of Muskegon has been incorporating it into that Friday night’s Party in the Park. Parties in the Park President Ami Gongalski said that the Friday night Taste of Muskegon was its largest and most successful party in 2017.

“Parties in the Park has been thrilled to incorporate Taste of Muskegon into our schedule the past few years,” Gongalski said. “We look forward to reaching out to the city to see how this collaboration can continue in 2018 and future years.”