Hundreds of people turned out on San Fernando Boulevard in Downtown Burbank Thursday night for an evening of delicious food, celebrity guests, live performances and eco-friendly behavior .
The Taste of Downtown Burbank looked much different than in years past. The seventh installment of the culinary event focused on going green and reducing waste.
In previous years, the streets were lined with cups, plates and utensils handed out from individual booths.
An effort to dramatically reduce the trash, the boulevard was lined with "Zero Waste Stations" manned by volunteers from the Burbank High School Key Club and community members.
Patrons were asked to separate trash into landfill, compost or recycle.
"Some people are very confused because this is totally new," said Ferris Kawar, a city recycling specialist helping the volunteers at one of the stations. "But all are happy and willing to do it."
This was the first year the Taste of Downtown Burbank featured celebrity guests, including Nikki Cascone, from the television reality show "Top Chef," and Talk Show Host Merrill Shindler.
"I try to incorporate green elements and a green lifestyle into my cooking and this seemed like a good fit," said Cascone, who took a five hour plane flight to provide a cooking demonstration in Burbank. "I wanted to see how it was done at this capacity."
"I think [Burbank] is a pioneer for doing events like this globally," Cascone added.
Tickets proceeds benefited the financial assistance program at the Burbank Community YMCA, which enables the organization to continue a commitment to provide membership to anyone that asks.
With 39 restaurants participating, Thursday night was the largest Taste of Downtown Burbank to date.
Burbank Community YMCA Senior Marketing and Communications Director Susan Sebastian said she had a little scare with the weather on Wednesday, but was pleased with both the temperature and the turnout .
"I think that there is a diversity in the patrons this year," said Sebastian. "We have people in their twenties and people my age and I think that reflects who Burbank is now."
She also was pleased that the festival has become more of a regional event instead of only a citywide one.
"Now the younger people are set up to become regulars, which is great" said Sebastian.