The downtown district will be open for exploration this Saturday during Taste of Laramie, a fundraising event organized by Laramie Sunrise Rotary Club.

From 11 a.m.-2 p.m., participants can register at Hollyhock Commons, located at the corner of Second and Custer streets. For $35 in advance or $40 at the door, they’ll receive a glass tumbler and goody bag. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m., they can fill that glass at participating downtown establishments.

“The glass will get them a free pour at all the bars,” said Ryan Bennett, president-elect of Laramie Sunrise Rotary.

In addition to drinks, the event includes food specials and discounts at about 20 participating businesses across downtown Laramie.

Bennett said Taste of Laramie, formerly called Cocktails for a Cause, offers a way for people to enjoy local drinks and food, support local businesses and raise money for a local non-profit organization.

“You can go at your own pace and make the event what you want it,” he said.

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Laramie Connections Center, which is raising money to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van that it will use to provide free rides to Laramie residents.

Tim Snowbarger, who started Laramie Connections Center a couple years ago, said he’s given more than 200 rides in town and to neighboring cities since early January, using a 12-passenger van. He transports people to medical appointments, jobs and the grocery store.

The free service is only growing in popularity as word gets out, but often he has to turn people away who can’t use the current vehicle, which doesn’t have wheelchair access.

“We’re getting more requests,” Snowbarger said.

Bennett said the Sunrise Rotary board chose Laramie Connections Center from among several different groups and projects.

“We’ll be helping them fill that gap in the transportation system,” he said.

Bennett said the club envisions expanding Taste of Laramie into a downtown festival to kick off summer with even more food, drinks and music. This year, however, wasn’t the year to try to grow any event, especially one that was originally scheduled for early June.

“This year we just wanted to have something, so we scaled it back,” he said.

He said he’s excited that their rescheduled date has worked out with existing health orders.

“It’s too good of an event not to happen,” he said.

Go to tasteoflaramie.com for a complete list of participating businesses.

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