The businesses along the sidewalks of Western Avenue epitomize the spirit of Oklahoma City and make up the city’s oldest official district.
Western Avenue Association was founded in 2001 and stretches from upscale Nichols Hills known for sleek and modern design to the hip art deco-inspired buildings near NW 36th Street on its southern edge.
Celebrating its crystal anniversary, the association will host its annual fundraiser, Taste of Western, 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19 at Will Rogers Theatre Events Center, 4322 N. Western Ave. Guests will be able to dine all night long on offerings from 15 restaurants as the $50 ticket goes toward the association’s beautification fund, which sponsors everything from new signage and plants to the nine murals put in place in 2015.
“[The association] has helped make the district more walkable with the streetscape, and that’s great for [the flower shop],” said Stephanie Humes, business manager at A Date With Iris flower shop. “They’ve done a lot to get the community involved over the last three years. We want to do that more with events that are smaller and more frequent.”
Humes, who has served as a board member with the Western Avenue Association for 10 years, said the association’s sponsorship of such events like a car show called Wheels on Western and the Harry Potter-themed Wizards on Western, which is expanding in its second year, are examples of such community events.
In honor of the 15th anniversary, Humes said participating restaurants will put together food tastings with centerpieces and decorations appropriate for a celebration.
Live jazz music, wine and beer, which is included with the ticket, will be on hand to as part of the event. Taste of Western guests will have an opportunity to take fun pictures in a photo booth and buy raffle tickets for a variety of packages including passes to the Boathouse District and Oklahoma City Thunder tickets.
Guests will vote on their favorite restaurant tasting of the night. Big Sky Bread Company returns to defend its title as the people’s choice winner, which Humes said is only for bragging rights and a trophy. First-time participants include The Hutch on Avondale, St. Mark’s Chop Room and The Oil Tree.
Humes said the addition of new businesses since last year’s Taste of Western highlights the vitality of the district. While Western Avenue was the first entertainment district to emphasize local businesses and that value system has spread to other districts, the area is still evolving.
“Western is ever-changing,” Humes said. “You know there will be staples that will always be there, but new businesses open to inject life. I think it’s cool now that you can get great olive oil at The Oil Tree and then get the spices to cook it in at Savory [Spice Shop],” Humes said.
Print Headline: Crystal anniversary; A fundraiser dinner for Western Avenue Association invites guests to eat and drink as much as they want.
St. Mark’s Chop Room
Pearl’s Oyster Bar
The Wedge Pizzeria
Iron Star Urban Barbeque
Whole Foods Market
Big Sky Bread Company
Bin 73 Wine Bar
Flip’s Wine Bar & Trattoria
The Oil Tree
The Hutch on Avondale
Taste of Western
6-9 p.m. Oct. 19
Will Rogers Theatre | 4322 N. Western Ave.