OGDEN -- Nella Forsberg and her family fancied their mini-meatball submarine sandwich for dinner Friday.
The Forsbergs never have been to most of the restaurants on Historic 25th Street, including Brewski's, which provided the sub. But after sampling foods from seven of its eateries, including salad, sushi and lasagna, they had quite the tour.
"I loved the dessert," an apple bread pudding with caramel and whipped cream, said daughter Charlotte Forsberg as the family sat at the fountain outside Union Station.
It was there the eighth annual Ogden Arts Festival premiered Taste of Downtown on Friday evening. During the event, participants could sample food from seven restaurants on Historic 25th Street.
Coordinators sold all 300 of their $8 tickets by the time the event kicked off and even had to turn at least 50 people away, said Tracy Ehrig, business manager for Union Station.
After all, "culinary arts is another part of art," said Kym Buttschardt, owner of Union Grill and Rooster's, both of which were represented at the event.
The event was an opportunity for Dan Akridge to try City Club's spicy sweet wings. He's a regular at the club but had never tried the dish -- and he was glad he did.
Akridge also was pleasantly surprised to find a new place to eat.
"Just the other night, I was looking for an Italian place around that isn't Olive Garden," he said.
He did not know about Rovali's, a new arrival to downtown Ogden. But after sampling its lasagna, he is definitely checking it out.
Alex Montanez, the owner, just moved Rovali to Ogden a few months ago from its original Layton location. He's also an art-lover, which he shows through the various art pieces that decorate his restaurant.
But not content just to let customers come to him, he wanted to bring a bit of Rovali's ambience to them and donate his food to the event.
The festival's annual high school art exhibit and award ceremony preceded the dinner. Almost 100 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from Weber County high schools decorated the exhibition.
Ogden High School students dominated the awards, but just having art in the show is a victory for artists as young as they are, said Bruce Burningham, Ogden High School art teacher.
"It's about getting excited about expressing themselves" and the invaluable experience of putting themselves and their work out there for the world to see, he said.
A celebration of local art is the point of the festival, said Suzy Daily, its director. Ogden has a wealth of talented artists who should not have to go to other cities in Utah for recognition, she said.
Jeff Trujillo and his wife, Allison, agreed and are looking forward to checking out the art at today's silent auction. The pieces on display were all painted on Friday.
But Friday evening, the Trujillos were more than happy to enjoy an eclectic dinner plate. In particular, they were taken by Crowley Gallery and Cafe's Caesar salad. Once the Ogden Art Festival is a memory, the new cafe is the couple's next destination.
The Ogden Arts Festival continues today and Sunday with live music and demonstrations of painting, facial casting and leather working similar to work featured in movies such as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Sleepy Hollow."