by Michele Smith-Aversa
The Kentwood Activities Center hosted the 12th Annual Taste of Kentwood and Silent Auction last Thursday. This activity is one of seven fundraising events included in the Light the Spark campaign – created to raise money for the 4th of July celebration which includes the fireworks show, a 5k run, a parade, pancakes and more. The Light the Spark campaign’s goal, $30,000, has been met every year and it looks like 2014 will not be any different.
Multiple vendors participating in the Taste of Kentwood marched through the lobby of the Kentwood Activities Center with warmers, containers of food, and bags of supplies to set up their wares at the food booths. The small culinary army readied themselves to hand out mouthwatering samples to the eager and hungry public – expected to number approximately 500 people, according to Jen Keith, Special Events Coordinator for the city of Kentwood. This number is up from 450 people last year says Keith.
Vendors in attendance included:
Boardwalk Subs – “We’re the only vendor that’s been in attendance every year since the Taste of Kentwood started,” said owner Chris Tallarico. Each year he sees some of his loyal customers and hopes to gain new fans. “We’re not freaky fast and we don’t want to be,” Tallarico said. “We’re like Cheers. We know the names of our customers. Come in around 12:30 and see.”
Peppinos – “This is a chance to get exposure to the community,” explained a Peppinos employee. “It’s also our opportunity to give something back.” Peppinos has attended the event for three years in a row.
Smash Burger – General Manager Bennett Beason and Kevin Cook (pictured) manned their booth, proudly returning after winning the “Taste of Kentwood” last year. While Beason explained his desire to reach out to the community, Cook delivered the samples of 100% black angus beef burgers with a flourish.
Russo’s, Zoup, Tim Hortons, On the Border, Jets and Wing Dings rounded out the food booths.
Tables full of philanthropic diners, many come every year. In addition to helping out their community – some having been in Kentwood nearly 40 years – it is opportunity to spend time with their friends and neighbors, try new foods and engage in a little frivolity.
The silent auction was the non-edible portion of the evening. Various items were up for bid, including the priciest item – an autographed picture of Utah Jazz basketball player Trey Burke, a framed picture of Tiger’s Stadium, a 6 bottle winetasting event by Wines for Humanity and a 12 pack of Victor Sinclair Legacy Toro Grande Connecticut Cognac cigars. Other items included packages for area golf outings, a day at the museum, or a stay at an area hotel.
In all, the 12th annual Taste of Kentwood and Silent Auction raised over $2,500 towards the goal!
So, keep putting the “f-u-n” in fundraising, Kentwood! The next event is a Zumbathon Friday, April 25, 2014. Get ready to sweat! For one donation, enjoy two hours of fun, fast paced Latin dancing!
If you would like to donate without breaking a sweat, visit http://www.gofundme.com/lightthespark.
For more information, call the Recreation Department for details at 616-656-5270 or contact:
Jen Keith, Special Events Coordinator