[KHTS] – It was a record setting day Sunday for Taste of the Town 2014, the 26th annual fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center.
“I think in every category, attendees, sponsors, booths, everything, we set a record this year,” said Darrell Paulk, CEO of the Child & Family Center. “It gets bigger and better every year. It’s just a fantastic event.”
The event, held 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia attracted nearly 2,500 attendees, said Lois Bauccio, President and Executive Director of the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center Foundation.
Early in the day emcee Ed Masterson announced that traffic trying to reach the event was backed up from the event site down Kelly Johnson Parkway to Newhall Ranch Road.
“There are thousands of people trying to get here,” Masterson said.
Among the attendees was newly elected Santa Clarita City Councilman Dante Acosta.
“I am having a great time. I am really enjoying this event,” Acosta said. “I’ve been sampling the food, and I think I’ve only hit about 10 percent of the booths and I’m already full.”
Final numbers for total attendance and proceeds from the event have yet to be tallied; however, the live auction raised $41,500, said Bauccio.
“It was a wonderful day,” said Bauccio. “We really had amazing community response, there were more people there than ever before.”
The most popular live auction item was a vacation to the 4,000 sq. ft. Maui, Hawaii home donated by Pat and Madeleine Modugno, which sold for $6,500. The Modugnos donated the use of the home to two bidders, bringing in a total of $13,000 for the Child & Family Center.
Not far behind in revenue was a vacation to a country house in Tuscany, Italy which brought in $5,500. The item, donated by Fabrizo and Nora Conserva, was also sold twice.
A dinner party for 50 at the Sand Canyon mansion of Jennifer Gerard sold for $5,000.
Four rescue puppies, all from the same abandoned litter were auctioned at the event. Three puppies sold for $600 and one for $700.
“We are so thrilled that those little puppies have new homes,” Bauccio said.
The live auction also featured additional vacation getaways, dinner and cocktail parties and other items.
A large selection of silent auction items was also up for bids.
A team effort
Paul said the event was “really a team effort this year.”
“We really appreciate all the hard work from our volunteers and our staff,” he said. “How do we thank them all? We had hundreds of volunteers.”
Joyce Carson, co-chairwoman of the event with Sandra Smith, said community and volunteer support of the event was extremely important.
“We could not have done this without our fabulous volunteers,” Carson said. “Child & Family Center is so grateful for all the support we received from our community. It was a great event.”
Food and beverages
From Kobe beef sliders to assorted frozen ices, from tilapia tacos to Texas caviar, from a watermelon granita to assorted sub sandwiches the food and beverages served at Taste of the Town included something for everyone.
Among those offering food and beverages at the event were: Jill’s Cake Creations; Persia Restaurant; Nothing Bundt Cakes; Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery; Jersey Mike’s Subs; Newhall Refinery; Anheuser Busch; Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill; Pinot’s Palette; Rita’s of Santa Clarita; Vines Restaurant & Bar Sisley Italian Kitchen; Whole Foods Market, Valencia; The Yacht Club at Channel Islands Harbor; Salt Creek Grille Catering; Fireman’s Brew; Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que; Signal Wine Club; Marston’s Restaurant; Castaic Lake Water Agency; Eat Real Café; Clarice’s Cake & Candy Supply; Rubio’s; Bake You Happy; Bella Cucina; Kokolita Cakes & More; Parashar’s Indian Kitchen; Robinson Ranch; Shave-It Valencia; Lima Limon Peruvian Restaurant; Margarita’s Mexican Grill; Jeannie J’s Events; Nana’s Banana Bread; Fab Hot Dogs; Hidden Havana Cuban Café; Larsen’s Steakhouse; Embassy Suites; Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Café; Custom Caterers; Jasmine Thai Noodle & BBQ; BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse; Organo Gold; COC Institute for Culinary Education; Reyes Winery; J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines and Magnavino Cellars.
Martha Aguilera, of Kokolita Cakes, offered guests a variety of cupcakes to sample. Aguilera and her crew sported “retro” dresses and sunglasses and took trays of cupcakes into the crowd to hand out.
“This is our favorite event to attend every year,” Aguilera said. “We love to get dressed up and have fun.”
Title sponsors for the event were Bank of Santa Clarita and Whitening Lightning. Frank D. Di Tomaso, CEO of Bank of Santa Clarita and Elizabeth Hopp, senior vice president of Bank of Santa Clarita, were called on stage and presented with a large photo and plaque from Paulk and Bauccio.
Jennifer Gerard, CEO and founder of Whitening Lightning and Gerard Cosmetics, was also presented with a large photo and plaque in recognition for her title sponsorship. The title sponsors donated $10,000 each.
“The Child & Family Center does great work in the community on a daily basis,” Gerard said. “They do work that we don’t even see. They take care of so many people. It is important to support the work they do.”
Opportunity drawings and entertainment
Each year Apo Yessayan, owner of Classic Designs Jewelry, travels to Belgium to hand-select the rare diamond awarded to the winner of the Diamond Drop, which includes a free glass of champagne.
Apo and Janet Yessayan poured champagne and greeted guests Sunday at their Diamond Drop booth.
“This is a wonderful day,” said Apo Yessayan. “We enjoy meeting everyone and being able to donate to such a good cause.”
The event also offered a drawing for a 15-day Princess Cruises trip for two to the Hawaiian Islands.
As the afternoon wore on, guests crowded around the stage at Taste of the Town to dance to the music from platinum recording artist Mark LeVang & Friends.
Also featured at the event were cookbook authors Chef Louis Eguaras and Jessica Fisher.
Eguaras served as Chef to Presidents George H. Bush and William J. Clinton. Eguaras helped establish the Culinary Arts Program at College of the Canyons in 2005 and currently serves as vice chair/Chef Instructor at Los Angeles Mission College’s Culinary Arts Institute.
Fisher is a chef/author/blogger and former SCV resident. A portion of the cookbook sales were donated back to the Child & Family Center through Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
Santa Clarita Child & Family Center
The Santa Clarita Child & Family Center helps more than 3,300 children and 2,500 adults annually with a comprehensive range of mental health services including prevention, early intervention, evaluation and therapeutic services. Programs include counseling, crisis intervention, parenting classes, and substance abuse recovery programs. New programs have also been instituted to assist veterans and service members of the United States military.
For more information about the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center visit www.childandfamilycenter.org.