Downtown offers Taste of Zucchini, Upcycle Contest on Thursday |

Downtown offers Taste of Zucchini, Upcycle Contest on Thursday

Zucchinis and other gourds sit atop the table of Sherri White last week at the final Craig Farmers Market of the year. Thursday marks the arrival of the cook-off event Taste of Zucchini, sponsored by The Kitchen Shop, where people can enter their best zucchini dishes for prizes. The day also will feature the Upcycle Contest, sponsored by Favorite Things and Community Budget Center, in which people can repurpose old items around the house with a whole new use.
Andy Bockelman

— With fall officially here, events like the Craig Farmers Market won’t be around in the months to come as local residents prepare for colder and colder weather. Even so, that doesn’t mean the downtown area will be completely devoid of activity.

Come downtown Thursday for a pair of happenings: Taste of Zucchini and the Upcycle Contest.

As the name indicates, Taste of Zucchini is a cooking event centered on everyone’s favorite food that resides in the final pages of the dictionary — with apologies to zwieback. Culinary aficionados can enter any kind of dish they would like, as long as it contains the title gourd.

Entrants should feel free to be imaginative with what kind of delicacies they bring, said Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of The Kitchen Shop, which is sponsoring the event.

“It can be zucchini cake, zucchini bread. We had some kind of soup last year and a dip,” she said. “It can be anything.”

Organizers will start setting up at 5 p.m. in Alice Pleasant Park, and things will kick off at 5:30 p.m.

Participants must bring at least 15 servings’ worth of their food for tasting. There is no entry fee, but a $5 ticket buys those in attendance a sample of every dish and the chance to vote for their favorites.

Prizes, provided by the Downtown Business Association, will go to those selected, as well as to whoever brings in the biggest zucchini.

“We’ll be going by whichever’s the heaviest,” Daszkiewicz said. “We’ve gotten some pretty big ones, and we’ve got a good scale for measuring that.”

While Taste of Zucchini focuses on things that come fresh from the ground, the other event of the day is all about turning something old into something new.

The Upcycle Contest, sponsored by Favorite Things and the Community Budget Center, lets participants recycle an item or two and improve it by finding a different use for them.

The rules are very loose so that people can get creative, Budget Center Manager Karen Brown said.

“We’ve had a corner shelf made out of doors, a coffee table made out of a drum,” she said. “It’s all kinds of neat things.”

Entries often are spruced up so they look nicer than they did in their previous life. Brown cited a wedding bouquet made out of various household items and a cluster of neckties sewn together to make a quilt as two of the more memorable former entries.

“That quilt was just beautiful,” she said.

Entries are $5 apiece, and participants — ages 3 and older — can enter as many upcycled creations as they like, setting them up by 4 p.m. A vote for each newfound objet d’art is 50 cents, with the contest running through 7 p.m.

Brown said she hopes people will attend both events as the day progresses.

“There’ll be a lot of fun things to see, and it’s just a lot of fun for everybody,” she said.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or

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