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Big crowd for food, glorious food

Taste of the Town draws nearly 2,000 to fundraiser to benefit Santa Clarita Child and Family Center

Posted: May 6, 2009 8:24 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Chef Michael McClintok grills up Italian sausage for Frankies NY Italian Restaurant.

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Nearly 2,000 supporters of the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center packed Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia on a warm Sunday to eat, drink and be merry. The 21st annual Taste of the Town also attracted nearly 40 food and drink vendors to one of the premiere food and wine events in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The event is also a major fundraiser for the Child and Family Center which provides mental health services to children and families of the SCV.

“We’re still counting tickets, but we estimate we had nearly 2,000 attendees,” said Cheryl Jones, vice president of the Child and Family Center Foundation, the fund raising arm of the nonprofit. “We had more people than last year.”

Lois Bauccio, president of the Child and Family Center Foundation, said she appreciated the support of SCV restaurants.

“I know it has been a difficult economy for many restaurants so we want them to know how much we appreciate what they do for this event,” she said. “We appreciate their sacrifice to make this event what it is.”

Bauccio said the event looks to have grossed nearly $140,000, which was an increase of almost $10,000 over last year.

“We’re going to end up netting more than last year, too,” she said. “The vendors were so good to us this year, everyone was. It will make such a difference for our programs.”

Bauccio said after all the tickets are counted the event will probably be the best attended Taste of the Town held to date.

“We reduced the price of tickets this year as a gift to the community,” she said.

Attendees paid $50 each for general admission ($60 at the door) and $85 for covered VIP seating.

“We’re all very excited and happy at how the event turned out,” said Jones. “We so appreciate the community coming out to support the event even in this difficult year. We saw a lot of new faces and a lot of old friends.”

Guests were offered a variety of tasting opportunities during the event which included wheatgrass martinis from RSVP Catering to chocolate covered strawberries and other desserts served up by Clarices Cake and Candy Supplies.

Other popular “tastes” included a curry offered by Tandoori Grill, a meatloaf slider and homemade fries by Salt Creek Grille and red velvet brownies from Babe’s Dessert Bar.

“Taste of the Town is such a cool event because I’m such a big eater,” said Shelley Hann of Valencia. “This is an event I look forward to every year. It’s for a great cause and I was just asked to be on the board of the Child and Family Center — so I’m very excited about that.”

Lines quickly formed at the more popular booths that lined the grassy lawn of Mann Biomedical Park, with guests seeking wine at the Vino 100 booth and food at Maru.

The LA Trends Catering booth brought a classic Caesar salad and vichyssoise for guests to sample.

“We love this event. Every year we see new faces, new people in the community,” said Michelle Razzano, owner of LA Trends. “I’ve been doing this event since 1992 and I’ve only missed one year.”

The event allows restaurants and caterers to strut their “stuff” for prospective new customers.

“We really hope that guests return and visit all the restaurants they’ve sampled at this event,” said Bauccio.

In addition to fine food and wine, guests were treated to musical entertainment and many in the crowd danced in the open area in front of the stage to the funk and soul music of Mark Le Vang & Friends and the classic rock of the “Valli Boys” — a tribute to the music of Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons.

The event also featured a silent auction of 170 items, including a chocolate lab puppy purchased by Duane and Pauline Harte of Newhall for $600.

One female and one male eight-week-old AKC chocolate Labrador Retrievers were brought to the auction by Bella Rancho Suzanna so the winning bidder could have a choice of sex. Pauline Harte said she has never had a male dog so she decided to choose the male.

“He’s very smart,” she said. “I try to get him to lie on the couch with me, but he prefers to lie on the floor at my feet.”

The silent auction offered baskets of DVDs, gift certificates, tickets to entertainment events and a variety of practical and fun items.

Guests also were able to purchase a glass of champagne for $25 and a chance to win a one-carat round diamond donated by Apo Yessayan of Classic Designs Jewelry.

The opportunity drawing offered a seven-day Princess Cruise to the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera with only 200 tickets sold at $100 each.

Frank Lozano, of Power 106 FM, served as emcee.

For information on the Child and Family Center visit



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