Just 75 miles outside of Spokane is a town called Sandpoint, Idaho. You may never have heard of this particular place, as there’s only about 7,000 people there. However, if you’re a foodie, you really should find the time to visit. What it lacks in population, it more than makes up for in eateries!
They have an amazing celebration called Dine Around Sandpoint.It is a fun and festive event for foodies that encourages people to eat at various places around town. Each time you go to a participating restaurant during the month surrounding their Winter Carnival, you will receive a ticket. The ticket serves as your entry into a prize drawing; depending on the year and the restaurant, you can get some great things as prizes – sometimes you may win bottles of wine, sometimes a gift certificate. However, the grand prize is really worth the effort: one meal a month free for a year for you and a guest. The more participating restaurants you eat at, the more you increase your chances of winning a prize. Talk about a food lover’s dream!
The menu at participating restaurants is often prix fix and contains multiple courses, so you’ll get your money’s worth every time you dine. There were over 30 different vendors participating last year, so if it continues at the same pace, you will be thankful that you have an entire month to dine your way around Sandpoint! Even then, you will have to put in some serious effort to hit every place on the list!
For place much smaller than Spokane, Sandpoint has a surprising variety of eateries, and many of them partake in this great event. This is great news, because it means there are a lot of different options for you to choose from. There’s steakhouses, Mexican restaurants, Thai cuisine, American eateries, bistros, cafes, breweries, pizzerias, sushi restaurants, and more. If you aren’t up for a full meal, there are also coffee shops and bakeries to pick from. In other words, you’re bound to find whatever you’re hungry for. They even did a Carnival Beerfest and Bar Crawl last year.
This unique concept started in 2008 to get people out and eating around town (hence the name) at a time of year that people weren’t really going out as well as a great way to promote the Winter Carnival. This contest has really promoted the local cuisine and has gotten people from places nearby (like us over in Spokane!) out to eat in places we might not have attempted otherwise. That’s good news for the town, the local economy, and for us foodies!
We really hope that this is an event that will continue for years to come and that other places develop their own, similar programs. It’s a smart way to support local restaurants and get people involved in their community. The next time the Winter Carnival rolls around, you should make the trip out to Sandpoint to taste some of what it has to offer. Who knows, you might even win a prize!