The 2011 Taste of Baldwinsville drew approximately 500 people. With 14 restaurants offering their finest samplings, attendees had a wide variety of foods to choose from at the March 5 event.
The Taste of Baldwinsville, a fundraiser for the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center (BVC), brings area restaurants together to compete for Judge’s and People’s choice awards. Attendees also have the opportunity to bid on a variety of items donated by individuals and local businesses in both a silent and live auction. All proceeds benefit the BVC. This year’s event raised about $20,000, which will provide for about one-third of the BVC’s annual operating budget.
“It means a great deal to us that people in our community not only come to the event to support us but that so many businesses help us out through their sponsorship of the event and that 14 restaurants prepare all of that food and have extra staff on hand to man their booth at the event while dealing with a busy Saturday night back at their restaurants,” said Nancy Conley, executive director of the BVC. “We can’t thank them enough for showing us this level of support.”
According to Conley, donations come from businesses, school groups, organizations, neighborhoods and individuals.
“This year there were around 130 or so items for people to bid on,” she said. “[It’s] so hard to measure the value or worth to a small non-profit like us that relies 100 percent on community support for our funding – it makes me feel like we must be doing something right.”
Conley also noted the importance of volunteers for an event this size. She said the volunteer fundraising committee began organizing the event last October and “put in many hours to make it all happen.” Baker High School’s Key Club also volunteered the day of the event.
“Many students showed up at 9 a.m. to help us and about a dozen came back at 5 p.m. and worked all night until everything was loaded up and cleaned, which was a little after midnight,” she said.
While the turnout was slightly less than last year, Conley attributes the decline to the late afternoon Syracuse University Men’s Basketball game, which may have “impacted ticket sales.”
This year, the judges were five teachers from Baldwinsville Central School District. Julie Sennett from Reynolds Elementary, Mike Scuderi and Jason Glashauser from Baker High School, Deb Mosher from Durgee Junior High School and Katie Reap from Van Buren Elementary School. John Thayer of Foolsbrew provided entertainment for the evening.
The judges and attendees recognized the following restaurants for the various award categories:
Judges and People’s Choice for best appetizer went to Fresh Mex Mexican Grill for their loaded nachos;
Judges and People’s Choice for best chicken wings went to Sal’s Pizzeria;
Judges and People’s Choice for best house specialty went to Pucello’s at Foxfire Restaurant for their sausage andouille soup;
Judges Choice for best pizza went to Hometown Pizzeria while the People’s Choice went to Pizza Man; and
Judges Choice for best dessert/after dinner delight went to Edible Arrangements for chocolate dipped fruits and the People’s Choice went to Tops Market for their yummy assortment of carrot, white chocolate raspberry, death by chocolate and chocolate peanut butter cakes.
New awards this year went to Edible Arrangement for best presentation and to Pizza Man for best booth.