Restaurants from across Cobb County will be showcasing their favorite dishes at the 24th annual Taste of Marietta this Sunday, April 30, 2017. A favorite activity among the participating restaurants is the Food Judging Competition and over 40 restaurants have chosen to enter into the annual competition. Categories include: Best Seafood Dish, Best International Cuisine, Dangerously Delicious Dessert, Best Comfort Food, Finger Lickin’ Good, The Big Chicken, Tastiest Beverage, Most Unique, and Blazin’ BBQ.

Evaluating each dish on the basis of taste, visual presentation, and creativity, a panel of five judges will sample and score the competition. This year’s impressive panel includes the host of “Reel Food with Chadwick Boyd;” television and radio host, Holly Firfer; Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, Grant Rivera; Elizabeth Cossick, Founder and Editor of Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon; and, the fifth judge will be the surprise winner of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre Live Auction.

Chadwick Boyd
Atlanta-based Chadwick Boyd is a food and lifestyle expert, TV host, and author. He is the host of “Reel Food with Chadwick Boyd,” a groundbreaking, new series that brings food entertainment every month to the preshow of the movies nationwide. Chadwick regularly appears on Food Network, the Harry Show, NBC, Fox, PBS, and Lifetime, sharing delicious food, recipes and entertaining tips with millions of viewers. Chadwick is the author of “Entertaining with Vegetables,” a recipe collection that shows modern cooks how to use fresh produce for every day meals. His next cookbook, focusing on produce and grocery, is slated for release in 2018.

Holly Firfer
Holly is an Emmy nominated journalist who travels the world covering anything from hurricanes and floods, to sporting events and campaign trails and even vacation destinations for CNN. She started her career in television anchoring and reporting for CNN/US, HLN, and hosting shows. She was part of the CNN team that won the coveted James Beard award as a correspondent on the CNN show “On The Menu.” In 2004, Holly left CNN briefly to host a morning show on DaveFM in Atlanta called “Music Mornings with Holly Firfer,” where she received numerous accolades, including being voted “Sexiest Radio Voice” by readers of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. She then added the role as co-host on NBC’s daily talk show, “Atlanta & Company,” and was a DJ on Atlanta’s Star94 before returning to CNN.

Dr. Grant Rivera
Dr. Grant Rivera is a career educator committed to serving every child and supporting every family. He believes great schools and communities are built on the combined talents of talented educators and an engaged community. He serves as the Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, becoming the 13th superintendent since 1892, leading the district’s 11 schools, approximately 8,900 students and 1,200 employees. Prior to this position, he served as the Chief of Staff for the Cobb County School District, which has 112 schools and over 111,000 students. He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Alabama, with an emphasis in school law. Grant has worked with school districts around the country as a consultant and practitioner for school improvement and family engagement. Grant and his wife, Jenn, have two daughters – Lauren and Reese.

Elizabeth Cossick
Elizabeth Cossick is the founder and editor of Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon and a real hellcat when it comes to correct pronoun usage. She received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Georgia and a Master of Literacy from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (The M. Ed. at the end of her name has nothing to do with journalism but looks smart and justifies the grad school loan so she keeps it.) She has a decade’s worth of experience as a literature teacher and literacy consultant and has written for and edited publications on a local and national level — including editing a New York Times bestseller, “Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.” Elizabeth grew up in Marietta and currently resides in Acworth with her husband Graham, their sons Bantten and Brooks, daughter Mia, Munson the Wonder Dog, two frogs, nine fish, a snail and a herd of dust bunnies.

Winner of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre Live Auction
Coming up on Thursday, the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Historic Marietta Square will hold its fifth annual Golf Classic. The Strand will host a First Course: Dinner and Silent Auction the night before the tournament to kick off the event. A live auction will be auctioneered for big-ticket items – including the chance to participate as a judge at the Taste of Marietta. All proceeds for the 5th Annual Strand Golf Classic go towards supporting The Strand Theatre and keeping the history and legacy alive.

After sitting in the dark for over 30 years, the 1935 Art Deco theatre was renovated and reopened in 2009 as the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. With seating for over 500 in the auditorium, two event rooms, and a roof top terrace that turns into a bar with live music during the summer months, The Strand hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

About Taste of Marietta
Celebrating its 24th year in 2017, the Taste of Marietta is Sunday, April 30th on the Historic Marietta Square. This year’s event will host more than 80 restaurants from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will close the evening with a special performance by TRIBUTE: a celebration of the Allman Brothers Band at 5 p.m. on the Glover Park Stage. Admission to the event is free and visitors can purchase as many tastings as they like for just $1 to $5 each. In addition to the delectable bites from restaurants and caterers, the family festival will feature a Kids Alley. Musical entertainment can be heard throughout the festival from the Cobb Life Stage and the Main Band Stand in Glover Park. Evening concert tables may be reserved, but concertgoers can also bring blankets and chairs. For more information, visit www.tasteofmarietta.com.