The annual Taste of Charleston will spice up its offerings this year with the help of a big name from the publishing industry and an extra day of weekend festivities.
Southern Living magazine announced Monday that it is teaming up with the Charleston Restaurant Association, which has put on the annual fall culinary extravaganza for three decades, in a partnership that’s expected give organizers some extra marketing muscle.
“At Southern Living, we think we can bring a lot to the table and bring the event to the next level,” said Rich Smyth, publisher of the lifestyle publication.
This year’s Southern Living Taste of Charleston will Oct. 8 and 9 at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant.
“It gives the event more scale,” Smyth said of adding a second day.
The magazine is not technically a corporate sponsor, since no money is changing hands. Smyth said Southern Living hopes to stay involved with the festival for years to come.
“We have full intentions for this to a be a long-term partnership,” he said Monday. “There’s no question about it.”
Michael Saboe, president of the restaurant association and dean of the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College, called Southern Living an “ideal partner.”
“We share tremendous synergies of Southern heritage, food, culture and best of all — the love of Charleston. S.C.,” he said in statement.
Smyth said his publication had been looking at opportunities to align itself with an event somewhere in the South to help strengthen its brand with current and future subscribers. A list of candidates was whittled down to a few finalists. The Taste of Charleston seemed to be a “no-brainer,” he said.
“Charleston has always been a quintessential Southern city, and a favorite of our readers,” Smyth said.
The magazine is planning interactive exhibits, cooking demonstration and appearances by its editors and writers.
“We’re trying to bring the pages of Southern Living to life for the consumer when they come out to the Taste of Charleston,” Smyth said.
Southern Living also will promote the food festival in its pages, which in turn could increase attendance and attract more out-of-town visitors.
“It won’t just be a local thing. It’s going be a whole Southeast thing,” said veteran restaurateur Steve Kish, an owner of 82 Queen and chairman of the Charleston Restaurant Association.
The partnership also should help further cement Charleston’s reputation as a top-notch dining destination, said Kathy Britzius, the association’s executive director
“It’s a win-win situation,” she said.
At least 50 local restaurants are expected to participate this year by showcasing samples of their signature dishes. Last year, more than 10,000 people came though the gate.
The first Taste of Charleston was held in 1981. Proceeds go to nonprofit organizations.