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Taste festival will feature patriotic theme

The Taste of Lockport, set for Sunday in Ida Fritz Park, will offer dishes from 22 restaurants and samples from three area wineries.

Organizer Gary Chapman, manager of Papa Leo's, said a patriotic theme will be featured this year, with all vendors asked to decorate their stations in red, white and blue.

The 11th annual Taste runs from noon to 6 p.m. and features music and other non-culinary attractions.

Former Buffalo Bills star Steve Tasker will be signing autographs in the West-Herr Honda booth from 1 p.m. on, Chapman said.

On stage to provide musical entertainment will be two local bands, the Teasers and Ransomville.

The Teasers, who played at the Taste last year, are "phenomenal," Chapman said, and that especially goes for lead singer Amy Lynn Lanthier.

"She makes the band. They play a little bit of everything, from Jimmy Buffett to Lady Gaga," Chapman said.

Also booked is Ransomville, a country band that shares the name of a hamlet in Niagara County. But according to Chapman, no one in the band is actually from Niagara County.

"They're a national recording act," he said.

Judges will determine the award winners in four categories: best appetizer, entree, sandwich and dessert. And the customers will vote for the coveted People's Choice Award. Cammarata's, a longtime Lockport standby, is the defending champion.

New to the Taste lineup this year is Ted's Hot Dogs, along with Kassie's Pizzeria and Seas the Day, a seafood vendor that doesn't have a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

An American Red Cross blood drive will be conducted at the park at West and Park avenues, starting at 10:30 a.m.

And the current hot issue in Lockport, privatized garbage collection, also will be represented.

"If you haven't heard enough about garbage and recycling, Modern [Disposal] will be there with some pink garbage cans and a garbage truck," Chapman said.

City residents who want to make a contribution to breast cancer research along with their garbage user fee can sign up for a pink can.