By Curt Yeomans
Officials from Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., considered moving their biggest fund-raiser of the year -- the annual "Taste of Clayton" event -- out of June for some time, but decided to go ahead and give it a try.
This year's 17th annual "Taste" event, which was scheduled to take place on Friday, has been postponed because of the area's sizzling temperatures, to an undetermined date this fall, according to Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., President Barbara Emert.
Emert said the popular event will be held this year, but it will likely be in September or October, when the weather is likely more favorable.
This will be the first time the "Taste of Clayton" has not been held during the month of June, according to Emert. She said the decision was made by Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc.'s board of directors in May.
Mother Nature is a major reason for the change, she added. Event organizers, weary of another year of either rain, or excessive heat, decided it was time to try something new. "You do things the same way for years, and you just assume that's the way to do it," Emert said. "But, at some point, you have to say, 'Maybe it would be better if we tried something different.' If it [the change] proves to be successful, it probably could be [permanent]," she said.
For the past few years, "Taste of Clayton" has been plagued with a rain shower right before, or during the event -- or extreme heat.
"If it rains in the afternoon, some of the restaurants just decide not to show up because they think it's going to keep raining that evening," Emert said. "If it's excessively hot, the restaurant owners had to work hard to preserve their food."
If organizers and participants haven't been dripping in rain water, Emert said, they've been dripping in sweat. At the very least, moving the event to the fall eliminates the heat problem, she added. "It's cooler at that time of year, and it just has an appeal to it that we decided we had to look into," she said.
But, the weather is not the sole reason to postpone the "Taste of Clayton," Emert said. She said part of the reasoning behind the board of directors' decision was to give local residents a few more months to come back, to accommodate for the nationwide recession.
Emert said her organization was getting a "good response" from restaurants, but wanted to give them a few more months to deal with the economy before asking them to donate food and servers to work at "Taste of Clayton."
"We just felt like it would be a hardship on both the restaurants, and the general public to have the event right now," Emert said. "Then, we just had a history of bad luck with the weather at this time of the year ... When you have that going on at the same time, we just decided it would be best to postpone 'Taste of Clayton' for now."