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[Michael Baxter]

Grabbing a bite and a drink at Tempe Marketplace is a good bet anytime, but your dining dollars can really make a difference there on Sept. 29.

Taste of Tempe Marketplace, a new food and alcohol event for the 21-and-older crowd, aims to raise money for two branches of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

The shopping center’s District Stage will serve as the Taste’s noshing and entertainment epicenter.

Crescent Crown Distributing will pour beer samples, and BevMo! will supply a variety of wine tastings. As for food, expect scaled-down but hearty portions from Thirsty Lion, San Felipe’s Cantina, Ra Sushi Bar Restaurant, The Handlebar, Portillo’s, Rosita’s Fine Mexican Food, Mark’s Cafe, Slices Pizza Joint and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches.

“It won’t be just chips and dips, but strong appetizers. If you make it through at least half of them (the food stations), you’re going to be satiated,” says John Davis, director of special events and fundraising for Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

Country artist Laura Walsh and folk rock band Bears of Manitou will supply live music, and your ticket includes unlimited food and drink samples.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the programs and services of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley Tempe-Ladmo and North Tempe branches. There are 12 East Valley branches that serve nearly 40,000 youth.

DETAILS >> 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29. Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway. $40 for one ticket or $70 for two tickets. (480) 966-9338 or

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or

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