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Bring Your Appetite to this Madison Culinary Extravaganza

As the Capital and cultural center of Wisconsin, Madison’s cosmopolitan attractions and Midwest charm offer something for every visitor. The city is a must for food enthusiasts with a seemingly never-ending list restaurants in the downtown area including Tornado Club Steakhouse and L'Etoile. If you're visiting with the entire family, don't miss the opportunity to stp by the Madison Children's Museum, featuring a variety of interactive and vibrant exhibits.


Taste of Madison has been serving up a healthy dose of Madison’s diverse culinary scene since it began in 1983. This year’s event will take place at Capitol Square in downtown, and will feature more than 80 Madison area restaurants serving more than 200 food options. The event is free to attend, and will also include 26 beverage stands serving everything from craft beers to designer sodas. A variety of musicians and bands will perform on three stages such as Powerman 5000, Nonpoint, Pat McCurdy, and more. After you’ve got your fill, don't miss the opportunity to vote for the "Best of Taste" at the and Wisconsin State Journal booths. The event raises more than $60,000 annually for a variety of local nonprofits, through its volunteer program. We got the chance to interview Erin Dougherty, Director of Operation for Madison Festivals, Inc., to learn more about this impressive culinary showcase.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

ED: Taste of Madison began in 1983.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

ED: An estimated 250,000 visit Capitol Square during our two-day event.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

ED: The event is perfect for anyone and everyone, as long as they like delicious food.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

ED: Taste of Madison is FREE and open to the public!


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.

ED: Our entertainment lineup includes a variety of acts from around the country. You can find a full list of performers here.  


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

ED: This year we have 87 restaurants, and 26 beverage stands to choose from.


RAL: What is the environment like?

ED: Outdoors, all around Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?

ED: No, but we work in close cooperation with the Greater Madison Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and they have a great website for this.  


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

ED: YES! We bring 250,000 people to the downtown area over the weekend.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

ED: Yes, we raise over $60,000 each year for various local non-profit organizations through our volunteer program.


RAL: Does lodging hit max occupancy during the event?

ED: If the weekend lands on a University of Wisconsin Badger Football home game, it can get quite crowded.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

ED: Held since 1983, the Taste is Madison Festivals Inc.’s flagship event, with over 80 restaurants, three entertainment stages and 26 beverage stands drawing over 250,000 to the Capitol Square on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. There is no charge for admission or entertainment.

For more information about the Taste of Madison, please visit the event website.