READING, Pa. - Another popular event every year in Berks County has been claimed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's one of our signature events," Rachael Romig, executive director of events and special programs for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, said of the chamber's annual "Taste of Berks" event. "I said, 'We can't cancel this. We need to bring this to the community. What can we do?'"

The GRCA created "Go Taste Berks," a new version of "Taste of Berks."

"We've created a weeklong kind of restaurant week-style event where you are going to taste Berks," Romig said.

From Feb. 22 through March 1, participating restaurants will offer specials and discounts. To get in on the fun, you'll need a passport, which you can buy online for $10. If you fill the required spaces on the passport, you'll be entered to win one of three experience prizes.

The current businesses participating in the event are Cloud Nine Café, Dove Song Dairy, Folino Estate, Heidelberg Family Restaurant, Isaac's Restaurant, Lafaver Family Farm, Mi Casa Su Casa, Paradise Island Smoothie Cafe, Redner's Markets, Russo Gourmet Foods and Market, RoseLawn Bistro & Winery, Sweet Ride Ice Cream, The Peanut Bar Restaurant, Tom Sturgis Pretzels, Unique Snacks, and Wyomissing Restaurant & Bakery.

"This passport concept, I think, is genius," said Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, the owner of Mi Casa Su Casa. "We have to kind of adapt with change. I think it's also an opportunity for people to get to know our place and our environment."

"We take pride in independent, local Berks County restaurants," said Hamid Chaudhry, the owner of the Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery. "This is a good thing."

But it doesn't stop at restaurants. You'll find the passport also features snack-makers, wineries, and those who specialize in decadent desserts, like Sweet Ride Ice Cream in West Reading.

This all comes at a time when business need it most.

"We are excited to be part of it," said Chaudhry.

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