Taste of Carmel has become a community tradition. The food and drink tasting event is March 5 at 502 East Event Center at 6:30 p.m. In its 17th year, the event raises money for Orchard Park Elementary School.
“We have a unique situation at Orchard Park,” event chair Karla Walsworth said. “(Funds from Taste of Carmel help provide) financial assistance to approximately 30 percent of students to cover curriculum tools, programming, teacher support and a giving tree. It makes up over 85 percent of the PTO annual budget. The PTO board then decides what to use the remaining funds for, such as field trips, visiting artists or STEM-related technologies.”
More than 36 vendors, including restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries and caterers, will offer samples.
“There is something for everyone,” Walsworth said. “Our VIP reception, First Taste, will feature chef Amy von Eiff of A Cut Above Catering and desserts by Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine.”
In addition to tasting, guests can bid on items during a silent auction.
“We usually have around 200 items from local businesses, packages from national retailers, trips and services,” Walsworth said.
The event continues to grow in attendance. Approximately 1,000 people attended in 2019.
“Each year, we have our vendors register earlier and earlier, which is a testament to the success of the event,” Walsworth said. “In terms of attendance, it’s a big group and great exposure for new restaurants and sponsors.”
The future of the event is up in the air with Orchard Park scheduled to close at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
“Right now, we are focusing on the approximately 700 children currently enrolled and the next year to make sure they have the best possible educational experience,” Walsworth said. “I have a feeling Taste of Carmel may live on.”
General admission tickets are $35 per person and $75 for the First Taste VIP Party Ticket. For more, visit tasteofcarmelope.com.