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Happy, hungry and thirsty hordes flock to the Bite of Seattle, one of Seattle’s most popular summer destinations, Friday through Sunday at Seattle Center. Check out choices from more than 50 area restaurants and 30 food-product companies along with cooking demonstrations, Family Fun Zone activities and a variety of entertainment on four stages. .

Taste treats include burgers, gyros, seafood, pizza, crêpes, fish tacos, fried chicken, piroshki, barbecue, desserts and Indian, Thai, Hawaiian, Vietnamese and vegetarian cuisine. Each restaurant offers one entree or combo priced at a maximum of $8 and a smaller $3.75 “Just a Bite” item. Other choices must be $7 or less, including one Hope Heart Right Bite healthy menu choice at each vendor.

The Bite’s biggest charity fundraiser, The Alley to benefit Food Lifeline, celebrates the accomplishments of its host for the past eight years, Chef Tom Douglas, and introduces next year’s host at the “Pass the Whisk” celebration at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Alley offers specially chosen bites from seven different restaurants daily at the Alki Courtyard for $10 to benefit hunger relief. Don’t wait until the last minute to get in line for this popular event, since it closes earlier than the Bite each day (11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Wine & Jazz in the Alki Courtyard adjacent to The Alley serves a selection of Washington wines in a relaxing atmosphere with contemporary-jazz performances all weekend. Wine’s available by the glass or taste, with five tastes for $15, $12 during the daily happy hour 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., additional tastes $2 each.

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A new feature this year, the Bite Craft Beer and Hard Cider Tasting with 70 assorted beers and ciders, joins the usual beer and wine venues around the Center grounds. A tasting package with a mug and five tastes is $20, additional tastes $2, 3-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Fisher Pavilion.

The Bite of Seattle, a local favorite since 1982, draws huge crowds to Seattle Center. Everyone’s encouraged to bus, bike, monorail or carpool for easiest access to Seattle Center. King County Metro Transit offers special shuttles from downtown and Northgate to the Bite Saturday and Sunday and the Seattle Monorail will have two trains available, departing every 10 minutes. See the Bite of Seattle website for complete information on transportation options including carpool discounts at Seattle Center lots.

Madeline McKenzie:

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