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A Taste of Keene - Schedule of Events

Food Token & Beer Ticket Sales

12:00-5:00 pm

Find out all your day-of info at

Crazy Love

12:00-12:55 pm

Biergarten Stage

Covers / Family friendly / Danceable

Crazy Love plays great familiar and uncommonly played tunes that we hope will make you want to get up and move your body. "Love is real, real is Love, Love is feeling, feeling Love..." (John Lennon). Well, Love is also Crazy! - Come join the Love! Get your festival started off right with a beer and some dancing. You can find out more at

Chef Demo - Ryan Nyland

1:00-1:30 pm

Central Square Gazebo

Chef Ryan Nyland just celebrated his 20th anniversary cooking this year! Chef Ryan started his journey with cooking at fifteen years old in the Cheshire Career Center at the Keene High School. His first kitchen job was at Burger King and he has slowly made his way through a lot of kitchens! Chef Ryan finally landed at Machina about a year and a half ago where he brings his inspired cooking style to their food as their sous chef and manager of their kitchen and staff.

Blackjack Crossing

1:20-2:15 pm

Biergarten Stage


Born out of a bluegrass jam, Blackjack Crossing has performed its unique take on string band music across New England since 2009, including such notable events as the Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival, Podunk Bluegrass Festival and the Cheshire County Fair.  Rooted in tradition, but not stuck in the past, the band has produced two albums and has been featured on NHPR's The Folk Show. Their music is available at Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming services. Check out for more info.

Chef Demo - Luca Paris

2:00-2:30 pm

Central Square Gazebo

He's the Executive chef and owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café, he starred on Season 1 of Guy Fieri's "Guy's Grocery Games" in 2013, and is Keene's original Chef-About-Town. He was a founder of the earlier "Taste of Keene" food event, and helped make this one happen! He has also been a great supporter of Keene Young Professionals Network for many years. To learn more about Luca, check out and to learn more about his restaurant, check out

Cold River Ranters

2:40-3:35 pm

Biergarten Stage

Folk / Roots

Roots music! That’s the likeliest conclusion of someone seeing The Cold River Ranters the first time. And it’s true, a lot of the band’s repertoire comes straight from traditional American folk music—Appalachian fiddle tunes, sea chanteys, riverboat songs, African-American blues and folk dance music from the South. But there’s more; an audience just might hear a Celtic tune or two, a tribal melody from Africa, a dance rhythm from the Caribbean, a Hungarian wedding march, a French bourree, or an ecstatic number from the Indian Subcontinent at any given performance. Also, there are the originals that reflect these influences - and a few Rolling Stones songs... and a couple from Van Morrison and John Prine. What ties it altogether is the mad energy the Ranters put into every tune, and the primitive funkiness they thrive on. Check them out at 

Chef Demo - Anthony Dispensa

3:00-3:30 pm

Central Square Gazebo

Born in Houston, TX, Anthony Dispensa, executive chef of Granita Enoteca on Railroad St in Keene, fell in love with the culinary arts after receiving his first cookbook from family friend, Tony Vallone, at age 14 – a passion that was further fueled by his Italian upbringing. Throughout his career, Dispensa has worked alongside some of the culinary industry’s top talents, including Alain Ducasse, Jody Adams and Scott Ekstrom. In 2009, Dispensa moved to the west coast, taking a role as executive sous chef at farm-to-table trailblazer, Bradley Ogden’s ROOT 246. Dispensa’s time at ROOT 246 taught him the importance of sourcing local ingredients. He later joined the culinary team at Gordon Ramsay’s former LA outpost, The Fat Cow. In 2016, Dispensa joined the culinary team at Heston Blumenthal’s legendary two-star Michelin restaurant, Dinner. The London-based restaurant is regarded as one of the world’s top culinary destinations. Dispensa joined the team at Granita to design and implement an Italian-inspired farm-to-table menu featuring local ingredients of exceptional quality. He brings his impeccable style and technique to his dishes, which are designed to pair with Granita's unique wine list.

Modern Fools

4:00-5:00 pm

Biergarten Stage

Americana / indie / rock

For their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube channels,  check out their website at  and to hear their music, check out or just come on by the show!

Who's Afraid of Hot? - Hot Pepper Eating Contest

4:00-5:00 pm

Central Square Statue

If you can't stand the heat... Then watch other people who can! Watch friends, neighbors, and total strangers try to fight their way through levels of capsaicin-induced fiery misery at this competition to see who has the most titanium taste buds in town. Want to sign up? Check with the HQ tent to see if we have any spots left - just $30 to compete for over $800 in prizes, or free to watch!

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