Tastes Like Home: Taste of Farmville Is A Tempting Treat
When you step through the narrow door of the STEPS center on this January Thursday night, it’s hard to tell which is more striking: the happy roar of a room full of hungry guests or the tantalizing smells drifting from the hundreds of booths that circle the room.
Entering its 13th year, the annual Taste of Farmville event presented by the Farmville Rotary Club is not only a culinary but a community delight as well. Held at the STEPS center, this year’s event featured a host of local vendors offering not only succulent dishes and savory sweets but information about services and products available to the community. From crock pots simmering with meatballs, to creamy tomato bisque, to small cups of piping hot bananas foster—the choices were endless. A $10 ticket secured attendees a plate, silverware, a bottle of water and access to the massive floor of the STEPS center, lined with tables and chairs and filled with hundreds of different delicious aromas.
According to Rotary Club Member Justine Young, the Taste of Farmville has become a wildly popular happening that provides community members a direct way to invest back into the community.
“It’s a fabulous event, “ says Young. “All the money we raise we give back to the community-—to organizations both small and large, as well as to local non-profits.”
Although the Rotary Club works diligently throughout the year at giving back to the community, the Taste of Farmville has established itself as THE big fundraiser, selling out both this year and last year. Both years a second printing of tickets was completed on the evening of the event.This year’s attendance was the highest yet with an estimated 1,000-plus community members in attendance.
The event was made possible through six main sponsors: The Woodland, W.A. Watson and Sons, Centra Southside Community Hospital, Farmville Rehabilitation and Benchmark and Citizens’ bank as well as through the direct contributions of the vendors. While vendors do get an opportunity to “show off” their stuff during the event, they also donate all the food directly to the cause. It provides restaurants and cafes a particularly excellent means of promoting themselves. In addition, many non-food related businesses set up information alongside the dish or dishes that they are offering.
As Young expresses it, the relationship between the vendors and the attendees is truly symbiotic. “We hope it helps them, because it helps us, and really it helps the whole community,” she says.
33 organizations, restaurants and groups participated in this year’s event.