Taste of Rochester - A Unique Family Event

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is located in a suburb of Rochester, NY. The area is rich with history, nature, culture, food and drink. Unfortunately, because of its location outside of the city, many of RIT’s students and families do not go into the city and miss opportunities to experience the many of the wonderful offerings available. In order to spotlight for our families that their visits to campus can be more fun than a trip to Target and a meal in the dining hall, I developed a program for our Family Weekend called Taste of Rochester.

For this event, local restaurants, breweries, and wineries are invited to campus to give parents samples and tell them more about their business and locations. While it was primarily a tasting event, local museums and attractions are also invited to table and provide information. The first event was a huge success! We had 24 vendors, around 90 guests, and positive feedback from all ends. The upbeat volunteers, music, and tent made it a fun tasting atmosphere (we luckily had great weather for October, but also had a heater and generator on hold!). Everyone loved their souvenir "RIT Family Weekend" tasting glass. I’m very excited to offer this event again at our future Family Weekends!


    • Food and beverages were the way to go. We hope to expand the number of food and beverage vendors in place of the attraction vendors who tabled. As an alternative, we would like to build a coupon book that highlights museums and attractions and gives an additional incentive for families to go!
    • Start early! Breweries and wineries book fast. Try to get on their calendar as soon as possible.
    • The vendors at this event were happy to donate the food/beverage because the number of participants was under 100. Keep this in mind as you consider cost of the event and your call to vendors.
    • Suggest that vendors bring coupons or business cards to give away with the samples to encourage families to visit their locations. 
    • Be sure to check in with your university’s risk management department so you obtain all of the correct permits.
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