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Taste Makers 

Cleveland's annual food fest dishes out the cuisine.

Everyone eats at this weekend’s Taste of Cleveland -- even Fluffy and Fido! The Purina Pro Plan Rally Across America Tour rolls into town as part of the annual food bash, and a cat named Max tries to claw his way over nine canine competitors for the top prize: $5,000 worth of pet chow. The nationwide contest focuses on rescue animals with remarkable comeback stories. Taste visitors vote for their favorite. “Max was treated so poorly in his early life, yet he now acts as a therapy animal,” says Theresa Clifford, who nominated the 15-month-old Pennsylvania kitty -- the only feline to make the finals.

Humans get in on the action too. Cuyahoga County’s mayors square off in a dessert challenge. Queer Eye chef Ted Allen gives cooking pointers. And more than 30 Northeast Ohio restaurants -- including Stancato’s, Das Schnitzel Haus, and Otani -- plate up their best eats. Plus, Donnie Iris, Michael Stanley, Donny Osmond, and Macy Gray bring the noise. But don’t worry about Max pouncing on your dinner. “People food just doesn’t make him zip and zoom all over the place,” says owner Kathy Gress. “He [prefers] diet foods to help him keep a lean, trim waistline.”
Fri., Aug. 31, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sept. 1-2, 12-11 p.m.; Mon., Sept. 3, 12-8 p.m.

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