New London - New London Main Street said Thursday it sold out its annual Fall Food Stroll, and attendance increased by nearly 24 percent from last year.
"We probably had about 950 strolling downtown,'' said Bence Strickland, Main Street's president. In 2009, organizers said they handed out close to 900 buttons.
Wednesday night, hundreds filled the downtown streets, including about 100 Connecticut College students, who stopped by 23 restaurants and 16 shops, Strickland said.
Main Street, which this year changed executive directors, sold 840 buttons and handed out about 100 buttons to sponsors, committee members and entertainers. Organizers said those attending were from throughout the region and included a couple visiting from Bismarck, N.D.
Wednesday night, strollers were treated to the likes of tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons at the Thames Club, Thanksgiving pizza at 2 Wives Brick Oven Pizza, and Jamaican rice and shrimp from Mambo Bar and Restaurant.
Mini cupcakes, mini pumpkin and apple pies and something called pound puppies were the desserts de jour offered at such non-restaurant locations as the Garde Arts Center and The Drunken Palette art studio.
"New London Main Street has had a challenging year, but we were able to pull off the best food stroll we've ever had, and the single reason for that success is credited to all of the volunteers who put in hours of work to make this event happen,'' said Strickland, who is also The Day's Custom Publications & Tourism manager.
"It was such a great feeling to see so many people walking downtown last night and seeing the results of the work of so many volunteers, restaurants, merchants and sponsors, made it that much more special,'' he said.
The walk is one of two food stroll fundraisers Main Street holds each year. It also has an annual appeal. Strickland said as of Thursday afternoon, the organization had not finished tallying how much it had raised.
The overall winner of the food stroll was Dev's on Bank for its Happy Panda Noodles. Kamp Dog won second place honors for Chili Fritos; and Lyric Cafe, which will be reopening under new management later this year, won third for its portobello mushroom and balsamic reduction crostini.
The winner in the dessert category was You Take the Cake, which handed out mini apple spice cupcakes with caramel frosting at Pinc! boutique.