Soup Stroll brings community together in downtown Cohoes

COHOES – People gathered on the streets of downtown Cohoes on Saturday to participate in the Small Business Saturday Celebration, where more than 50 vendors participated in the town’s first ‘soup walk’.

Music from several stores set the tone, and there was even a special performance of Santa and one of his elves playing jazzy renditions of Christmas classics on the saxophone.

“All these events organized by the city are great because they bring people out. They are tired of sitting still. And you meet new faces, not just your regulars, ”said Brenda Hage, co-owner of Sweet Happy Days, a 1950s-style ice cream parlor that opened seven months ago and was one of the businesses that left on Saturdays. .

It is one of the many new establishments in the city.

“More than two dozen new businesses have opened in Cohoes in the past two years, even throughout the pandemic. We really wanted to bring people here and see what it was about ”, Stephen Napier, Director of Economic and Community Development for Cohoes, spoke about the impetus behind Soup Stroll.

Participants paid $ 10 for a ticket that allowed them to sample 14 restaurants serving their specialty soups. In the end, they had to rank their favorite soups in their top three and submit their ballot for a winner to be chosen. The results of the competition were not immediately available on Saturday evening,

Although this is the first soup walk, this is the second time the city has held a community food tasting competition on Thanksgiving weekend Saturday.

“We did this particular style of event for the second year, last year was Wing Wars,” said Bill Ricard, Albany County lawmaker for the town of Cohoes.

While Wing Wars turned out to be a very popular event with a large turnout, the recent increase in the cost of chicken wings prompted organizers to choose soup as the dish to present this year.

“There is more variety now. Instead of the wings, there are so many different soups available for them. I think there are a lot more participants this year, ”said Hage, who also opened Lebanese restaurant Teta Marie’s in the city with her husband 15 months ago.

Those who went out on Saturday were happy to have the chance to spend some time downtown.

“I just love coming here,” said Katie Aiken. “Since COVID, even though I live nearby, I haven’t been walking the streets a lot to see what’s changed and what’s new,” she said.

Katie and her mother, Gail Aiken, spent the day trying the different soups and meeting the new vendors who recently opened in the midst of the pandemic.

“It’s nice to see Cohoes doing proactive things to try to revitalize their community. It’s really good, ”said Gail.

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