WINTERSVILLE - Organizers and participants in the 18th-annual Taste of Jefferson County to benefit the United Way are whetting their appetites for a successful fundraiser to generate money for its 17 member agencies.
"Dining and Diamonds" will be the theme of this year's event, which will be held Oct. 9 at St. Florian Hall. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the fundraiser billed as "a unique culinary experience" enabling patrons to sample the specialties of area restaurants and caterers.
Tickets are $30 per person with $20 of that amount tax-deductible. A cash bar will be available along with door prizes, drawings and gift bags. Tickets can be purchased by calling the United Way office at (740) 284-9000.
PLANNING TASTE OF COUNTY — Planning for the 18th-annual Taste of Jefferson County to benefit the United Way began in earnest Wednesday as some of the participating culinary vendors and United Way representatives met to prepare for the 5 p.m. Oct. 9 event. Among those involved are, from left, seated, Ross Gallabrese, president of the United Way of Jefferson County board of directors; Jodi Scheetz, event chair; Anthony Mougianis, United Way campaign chair; middle, standing, Ame Taggart, interim director of the United Way; Anita Jackson, United Way board member; Jodi Goff, United Way administrative assistant; and Chrissy Taylor, United Way board member; and back, Johnny DeLeonardis of the Ville Restaurant; Debra Latynski of Dolce Pizzelles Cookie Co.; Stephanie Pethtel-Eygabroad of A Touch of Elegance Bakery & Cafe; Cassie Doughty of Piergallini Catering; and Rikki Kamarados of Downtown Bakery. Tickets are $30 and are available by calling the United Way office at (740) 284-9000. - Janice R.
Planning began in earnest as representatives of the United Way and eatery representatives gathered Wednesday at St. Florian Hall.
"We do have a new theme - it's 'Dining and Diamonds' - and this is our 18th year for the event," said Jodi Scheetz, event chair. "We're hoping to raise a lot of money for the United Way agencies."
A new attraction at this year's event will be a treasure chest, which will replace the art auction of years past, according to Scheetz.
"We'll be selling keys for the chest, and if your key opens up the chest, then you get to reach in and grab one of the grab bags out of there, and hopefully there will be some bigger ticket items in the treasure chest," Scheetz said. A key will cost $10.
There also will be mystery bags and a gift card tree.
The People's Choice Award will be up for bragging rights for the restaurant best epitomizing the theme. Patrons will have a chance to vote on their favorite one with the winner announced at the end of the evening and receiving a trophy.
"The beauty of an event like this is that it's a nice event, but it's right after work so it's convenient to come right after work," Scheetz said. "It's a nice time for dinner, and it's reasonable, and it helps out good agencies that help the community," she said.
There are 10 restaurants and bakeries on board with more participation anticipated for fine cuisine and wonderful desserts.
"We hope everyone comes out and supports the United Way," Scheetz said.
Anthony Mougianis, campaign chairman, looks forward to the upcoming fundraiser.
"We're very excited about this event," he said. "It is really the bricks and mortar of our success. We've always had a successful turnout, and people are so giving and really come together and help us. I think we'll have an even greater event this year because I think we'll have more of a variety of restauranteurs there so I think it'll be an even better overall event, but it's a crucial part of our success for our campaign," Mougianis said.
"The Taste of the County has become one of the premiere social events in the fall for the area," said Ross Gallabrese, president of the board of directors for the United Way of Jefferson County.
"It has turned into a great fundraiser for the United Way, and every year it seems to grow and get a little bit better. I think Jodi (Scheetz) has done an outstanding job this year. We have a great lineup of restaurants, people who are donating, willing to donate their time and, of course, their food. It's a great evening, people get to sample offerings from restaurants and bakeries from all over the area, and more important, they get tot help the United Way, and that's what we're all about," Gallabrese said.