The Rotary Club of St. Clairsville will be holding its biggest annual fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, April 18, and it's a sure bet that no one who attends the big event at the James E. Carnes Center will leave hungry.
The 13th annual Taste of the Valley will welcome a total of 21 local restaurants and caterers offering samples of some of their most delectable dishes. With a total of nearly two dozen participating businesses offering a vast assortment of tasty foods, the event promises to go down as the biggest and best Taste of the Valley to date, according to club members.
Guests will have a chance to satisfy their taste buds with samples from any or all of the participating restaurants and caterers with booths set up throughout the Carnes Center. The participants will again be competing for votes, and guests will have an opportunity to cast ballots for their favorite eatery in several different categories.
Rotary Club of St. Clairsville member Frank Fregiato mans the microphone as master of ceremonies while visiting the staff of Cafe Burress, a crowd favorite during last year’s Taste of the Valley.
The Taste of the Valley is not only the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville's most popular annual fund-raising event, but also it has become one of the area's most highly-anticipated social events of the year.
This year's array of participants includes fan favorites among many Taste of the Valley veterans, as well as a handful of newcomers.
Participating restaurants and caterers include Bob Evans, Eat'n Park, Kroger, Riesbeck's Food Markets, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Panera Bread, Cafe Burress, Ye Olde Alpha, Tina's Sweet Celebrations, Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruttenbuck's Grill, The Honey Baked Ham Co. and Cafe, Tlaquepaque Mexican Grill & Restaurant, Domino's Pizza, Applebee's, Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream, Tim Hortons, Osaka Steak House, The Cooky Jar, Lil Gerardo's and Lou's Famous Fish.
"The Taste of the Valley is always a success because of our sponsors and participating restaurants, and because of the dedication of our members who put together such a great event every year," said Jim Bartsch, Rotary Club of St. Clairsville past president and chairman of this year's event.
Guests who attend the Taste of the Valley enjoy trying new dishes, and participating restaurants and caterers like the exposure the popular event gives their businesses. Often a restaurant will debut or promote a new dish at the Taste of the Valley. The vendors also have offered special coupons to guests at past events, and those lucky enough to take home bragging rights for best appetizer, best entree, best dessert, most creative chef and other categories have proudly displayed their plaques in their restaurants and have used the titles to help promote their businesses.
This will be the third year the event will take place at the Carnes Center, which offers spacious accommodations for many vendors and plenty of seating for guests.
"It's worked out very well," Bartsch said. "There is a lot of space and seating for more than 300 people. It gives our guests an opportunity to sit down and socialize, which everyone enjoys."
In addition to the smorgasbord of food, Taste of the Valley will offer a cash bar and a treasure trove of donated auction items. There will be a Chinese auction and silent auction with more than 40 items on which to bid.
Tickets to the Taste of the Valley are available through any member of the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville. Tickets also will be available at the door, but only 600 tickets have been printed, so guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Carnes Center is located at the site of the new Belmont County fairgrounds, just west of St. Clairsville off Roscoe Road.
"It's something that so many people in the community look forward to every year," John Sambuco, president of the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville, said.
"The Taste of the Valley is the club's single largest fund-raising event, and it has helped the Rotary Club have such a positive impact on the St. Clairsville area," Sambuco said.
The Rotary Club of St. Clairsville donates between $30,000 to $40,000 to charitable organizations, community projects and scholarships each year. The club has helped to construct shelters at Memorial Park and the Capstone Soccer Complex and the wall at the eastern entrance of the city. The club has helped with the St. Clairsville stadium project and many other local, regional and international projects. For many years, the group has provided dictionaries to every third-grade student in Belmont County.
Members of the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville meet weekly at noon on Tuesday in Marian Hall on the lower level of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Main Street, St. Clairsville. For more information about the 2013 Taste of the Valley or the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville, call club secretary Jeanette Williams at 740-695-6220.