Mariano’s Restaurante’s Meat-a-ball sliders took top place for best appetizer at the 2016 Taste of Nashoba.
Mariano's Restaurante's Meat-a-ball sliders took top place for best appetizer at the 2016 Taste of Nashoba.

As I type this we are in the middle of another winter storm. For those of us that have been to the Taste of Nashoba before, we know that a little bit of snow can't keep us away -- some may recall four years ago, when we had a major winter storm the day of the Taste and still the event was packed.

Alas, we will be five hours into spring when the Taste of Nashoba opens its doors for the 17th time on March 20 at 5:30 p.m. Held at the Lawrence Academy Stone Athletic Center, the annual event, showcasing the best in restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and breweries from the region, welcomes over a thousand attendees each year.

"The Taste of Nashoba comes at the best time every year," comments Pam Mariano, a multiple year winner and co-owner of Bailey's Bar & Grille in Townsend and Mariano's Ristorante in Pepperell.

Peter Milano, Senior Director of Business Development with Massachusetts Office of Business Development poses with Melissa Fetterhoff of the Nashoba Valley
Peter Milano, Senior Director of Business Development with Massachusetts Office of Business Development poses with Melissa Fetterhoff of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce.
"There's so much excitement in the air being surrounded by so many amazing food establishments. Very exciting night for all. Food and fun after the long winter. What more could we ask for?"

Indeed, with close to 40 vendors the night promises to be the premier spring event in the Nashoba Valley!

The event's Presenting Sponsor is again this year True North Hotel Group, representing SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Devens Common Center, Hilton Garden Inn and The Great American Grill, all located at Devens.

Attendees can expect plenty of delicious food and a cash bar. Entertainment will include music and photo booth by Platinum Productions and Dan's Balloons will be back making balloon art.

To culminate the evening, "Best of" winners will be announced.


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Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for the "Best Beverage," "Best Appetizer," "Best Entrée," "Best Dessert" and "Best Presentation" during the event (voting closes at 7:30 p.m.).

Last year's winners were:

* Best Beverage: Sunset Tiki Bar & Grill (Wai-Tai - Watermelon Mai-Tai)

* Best Appetizer: Mariano's Ristorante (Mariano's Meat-a-ball sliders)

* Best Entrée: The Great American Grill (Guinness Braised short rib)

* Best Dessert: Shriver Job Corps Center (Mexican Chocolate Crème Brule)

* Best Presentation: Nashoba Valley Technical High School

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

The Catalano Companies, owners of a local Dunkin  Donuts franchise, included a $300 sign-on bonus at the job fair.
The Catalano Companies, owners of a local Dunkin Donuts franchise, included a $300 sign-on bonus at the job fair.
Once again, we are partnering with area organizations and for every ticket they sell, they will receive $5. Details, including a list of participating ticket partners and participating vendors, are online at www.nvcoc.com.

MOBD meets with local business owners

Last month, Peter Milano, Senior Director of Business Development with Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), met one-on-one with businesses at the Nashoba Valley Chamber.

MOBD can help with everything from a free business plan, EDIP tax incentive program, financing, and everything in-between. This was a great opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to be connected with resources and technical assistance available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to help grow your business.

Such a success, the Chamber will be looking to do this again in the next few months. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Chamber at 978-425-5761.

Job opportunities

For the 8th time, job seekers from across the region gathered at the Devens Common Center in hopes of landing a great job opportunity.

Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, State Rep. Sheila Harrington, State Representative Jennifer Benson, and the One-Stop Career Center of North Central Mass partnered to host the 8th Nashoba Valley Job Fair on March 6.

Job seekers met representatives from over 70 businesses -- a diverse blend of local businesses, government contractors and federal agencies - looking to find qualified candidates to fill open jobs.

The Catalano Companies, owners of a local Dunkin' Donuts franchise, included a $300 sign-on bonus and are accepting applications at www.catalanocompanies.com.

Job seekers interested in learning about the next Nashoba Valley Job Fair to be held in November can email Director@nvcoc.com to be added to the email distribution list.

Melissa Fetterhoff is the President and CEO of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, a 600-member organization covering 16-communities. Learn more online at www.nvcoc.com.