Taste of Williamson returns to CoolSprings Galleria on March 5th from 7-9pm for an evening of fun and lots of food and beverage sampling. This annual event is a favorite in the community, showcasing the area’s top food and beverages. Proceeds from the event benefit United Way of Williamson County. We chatted with Mike Johnson, General Manager of CoolSprings Galleria, who shares how they came to partner on the event and how it has grown through the years. For more information on Taste of Williamson or to purchase tickets, visit tasteofwilliamson.com.
YW: How did the Galleria get involved in this long running charitable event?
MJ: One of our former managers had witnessed a similar event at a mall in Florida. He brought the idea to the director of the Williamson County United Way, and both felt,with the growing number of restaurants in the area, it would be a great event at a great location to help raise funds for United Way. The event began in March 2002.
YW: What was the original desire from the Galleria to partner with such an event?
MJ: The owners of the Galleria, CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., have always partnered with local charities and events wherever we own a mall to utilize our facilities as much as possible and to help raise funds and awareness for local charities. Our employees live and work in these communities as well so we feel proud to be a part of giving back to our community.
YW: How much does the Galleria put into the production of this event?
MJ: There is quite a bit of work that goes into this event for the Galleria. The logistics involved with setting up the restaurants, the additional entertainment activities, deliveries, the marketing activities and additional man power required to handle an after-hour event for 1,500 people, all add up to a very busy month prior to the event.
YW: How have you seen the event grow?
MJ: The event started in 2002 with probably thirty or so restaurants and about 800 attendees. In 2016 we had forty-three restaurants and a little over 1,500 guests attend the event. We have witnessed an increase every year as the event continues to grow in popularity.
YW: Why do you feel it is important to give back to the community in this way?
MJ: United Way does such an excellent job of distributing funds throughout the community to so many deserving organizations. We feel it is such a great opportunity to show how much we are a part of this area. Whether it is United Way or one of the other various organizations we partner with during the year, we feel a sense of pride to be able to help.