First Taste of Helena event planned for spring 2024

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

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By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The city of Helena will host its own event to showcase the food of local businesses in the first-ever “Taste of Helena” in spring 2024.

Inspired by popular events like the Taste of Shelby County and the Taste of Pelham, a group of Helena residents have started a campaign to create a festival highlighting the uniqueness of Helena’s food offerings.

“I think this is a great time to bring this to Helena. We have enough to actually showcase a true Helena taste, a Helena style,” said organizer Hewy Woodman.

Woodman recently posted a Facebook announcement calling for volunteers to help make the Taste of Helena a reality. Anyone with a passion for food, including but not limited to food enthusiasts, home cooks, professional chefs, restaurant owners, caterers, food truck operators, cake designers and brewers are asked to participate.

“I think we really have a mature food scene,” Woodman said. “There was a time when Helena did not have its own unique feel when it came to food and drink, but I feel like we have that now. I want to showcase these businesses, because the more people are exposed to them, the more success they have here in Helena.”

Woodman was inspired when he attended the Taste of Pelham in the neighboring city, and after a behind-the-scenes tour of how the operation worked, the vision was born to bring Helena food creators together under one roof.

Woodman approached the Helena City Council and garnered support, notably from Councilmember Alice Lobell. They plan to form two committees, an exploratory committee that will bring feasibility and hammer out the details, and an executor committee that will execute the festival itself.

The group is also working with Cliff Naron, counselor of the Helena High School Business Club. The club will be the recipient of proceeds from Taste of Helena.

“We will raise money for the business club and also expose young business people to the taste program,” Woodman explained. “There’s going to be parts of every festival that can be improved on, and that’s how they’re going to learn. Plus, they’re going to be meeting a lot of these business owners in the process. I’m excited about it.”

Organizers believe the best time for the event is just before wedding season in the spring of 2024. Possible venues include the community center dining hall or a large tent in a public park, weather permitting. A specific date, time and location will be announced later.

For the uninitiated, “taste” type events typically feature different tables representing each business or creator, presenting a specific dish each wishes to showcase to the public.

“For the businesses it’s a win-win,” Woodman said. “The people buying the tickets to the event will be able to go to each table and get free samples. People also learn about new businesses, and if they want to cater a wedding they now have facetime with these businesses to learn about them.”

Anyone who wishes to become involved may reach out to Woodman via Facebook Messenger or email; his email address is For more information and updates, follow Woodman on Facebook.

Woodman invites anyone in Helena who feels that they could contribute something to reach out.

“If they produce something edible, we would like them to consider showcasing themselves at our event,” he said.