About three dozen Jacksonville restaurants are expected to participate in the event, which is held each year to benefit the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center. Participating restaurants will line up under tents just outside the stadium at 6 p.m to serve people during the event, known as “Spirit on Mountain Street.”
“They get to taste your food, and JCOC gets to raise money,” said Tim Johnson, owner of Cooter Brown’s Rib Shack. “We participate every year.”
The JCOC comprises 25 Jacksonville-area churches that work together to help people in need. It helps buy school supplies, pay power bills and buy Christmas gifts for people in the 36265 area code.
When the event began about 10 years ago it was known as “Taste of the Town,” and under that name, the event grew to attract a few hundred people. Last year JSU signed on as a co-sponsor, added a pep rally, and gave it the name Spirit on Mountain Street, said organizer David Glass.
Last year 1,300 people attended the event, and this year they are planning for 2,000, Glass said.
“JSU has done a really good job of helping us promote the event,” Glass said.
The restaurants donate food for the event and organizers sell tickets for $1 each. Patrons exchange the tickets for samples of the restaurants’ offerings.
Businesses also participate in the event by buying sponsorships. Glass said that last year, the business sponsorships accounted for the majority of the $9,000 raised for the JCOC.
He said organizers hope to raise at least that much this year.
In addition to the tasting, the event will again include a community pep rally for the JSU football team, which will match up against Jacksonville University at home on Saturday. The pep rally will include a joint performance of the Marching Southerners, the Jacksonville High School Band and the Pleasant Valley High School Band.
Local musician Riley Green will perform between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Organizers will have inflatables for children and the 25 churches that are part of the JCOC will auction cakes.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.