The 27th annual Taste of the Town, benefiting the Child & Family Center of Santa Clarita, returned Sunday to the Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia.
The event offered guests food and libations from 52 exhibitors including restaurants, caterers, bakeries and beer and wine purveyors.
More than 1,000 guests attended the fundraiser for the nonprofit which provides mental health, behavioral and education services to children, adults and families in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Bigger and better
Liz Seipel, co-founder and retired CEO of the Child & Family Center, said she was pleased to see how the Taste of the Town event has grown and changed.
“It’s bigger and better, every year it gets bigger and better,” she said. “The work of the Child & Family Center is so important for the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Seipel said she is “extremely proud and a little overwhelmed” at the growth of the Child & Family Center.
“It shows the need for these services,” she said.
Among the changes for the 2015 Taste of the Town was a one hour earlier entry to the event for sponsors and guests who had purchased VIP tickets.
Live and silent auctions
The fundraiser included a live auction that featured trips to Mission Beach, La Costa, Arrowhead, Maui, New York, Vail and Scottsdale as well as a DC Comics Super Hero Birthday Party at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a custom made dress and a private party at Piccola Trattoria Restaurant.
More than 100 silent auction items included tickets, trips, gift certificates and merchandise.
Other fundraising opportunities included an “opportunity drawing” for a 15-day Hawaiian Islands Princess Cruise.
Classic Designs Jewelry offered up a 1.25 carat diamond pendant. The centerpiece diamond was hand-selected by owner Apo Yessayan on his recent visit to Belgium.
Guests paid $25 to enter their name in the “Diamond Drop” and also received a glass of champagne.
“I just returned with the diamond from Belgium last Thursday,” said Yessayan. “I am happy to be able to continue to help the Child & Family Center.”
The event was co-chaired by Ginger LeVang and Laina McFerren.
“I am honored to support the great work of the Child & Family Center,” said LeVang. “Co-chairing Taste of the Town, the ‘charity event of the year,’ with Laina was an opportunity I wouldn’t have missed.”
McFerren has served on the Foundation board of the Child & Family Center for 15 years.
“Thanks to everyone on the Taste of the Town committee and to the volunteers for their hard work,” McFerren said.
Committee chairs included: Jane Bettencourt-Soto, Jocey Hogan, Debbie Holbrook, Ron Lawrence, Nick Lentini, Ondrea LeVang, Linda Pedersen, Diana Sevanian, Steve Sturgeon and Apo Yessayan.
Among the popular items for tasting at the event were the hot dog sliders and jalapeno-infused lemon fizz from Salt Creek Grille Catering, carnitas tacos and house-made margaritas from Solita Tacos & Margaritas, an elaborate cheese and fruit tray from the Institute for Culinary Education at College of the Canyons, chocolate peanut butter, mango and strawberry-kiwi ice from Rita’s, hand-dipped strawberries, lemon tarts and chocolate mousse tarts from Clarice’s Cake & Candy Supplies, octopus ceviche, chicken liver toast and Moscow Mules from Newhall Refinery, empanadas and cupcakes from Kokolita Cakes, Chicken Marsala and Porcini mushroom risotto from Bella Cucina and seafood cocktails from The Vines.
“This is our 17th year participating in Taste of the Town,” said Greg Amsler, owner of Salt Creek Grille and Salt Creek Grille Catering. “The weather is wonderful today. We are happy to support the Child & Family Center, which is a great charity.”
Jill Cox, of Jill’s Cake Creations, has participated in every Taste of the Town since the event began.
“This is our 27th Taste of the Town,” she said. “We wouldn’t miss this for anything. This is one of the best nonprofits in the Santa Clarita Valley. I love all the food and it’s fun.”
Nancy Olmas, owner of Clarice’s Cake & Candy Supplies, spent the day hand-dipping fresh strawberries for event guests.
“Taste of the Town is awesome,” she said. “We’ve met some great people and had some great food today.”
David Belko, owner of Rita’s locations in Saugus and Stevenson Ranch, said in addition to supporting the Child & Family Center, Taste of the Town is an opportunity to introduce Rita’s to people.
“We want to get out in the community and introduce our wonderful product to people who don’t know about Rita’s,” he said.
Event participants included: Angel City Brewery, Anheuser Busch, Bake You Happy, Bella Cucina, Bergie’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Castaic Lake Water Agency, Clarice’s Cake & Candy Supplies, Culinary Wonders, Eat Real Café, Fetzer Vineyards, Fireman’s Brew, Henry Mayo Café, Honu Coffee, Institute for Culinary Education at College of the Canyons, Island Pacific Grill, Jasmine Thai Noodle ‘n BBQ, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jill’s Cake Creations.
Also: Kokolita Cakes, Kona Ice of Santa Clarita, J.Lohr Vineyard & Wines, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Marston’s Restaurant, Mystic Hills Vineyard, New Moon Valencia, Newhall Refinery, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Nuggucciet Cellars, Parashars’ Indian Kitchen, Persia Cuisine Restaurant, Persia Lounge, Pinot’s Palette, Pocock Brewing Company, Rattlers Bar B Que, Regal Wine Company, Rita’s Italian Ice, Robinson Ranch, Rubio’s, Salt Creek Grille Catering, Signal Wine Club, Sisley Italian Kitchen, Solita Tacos & Margaritas, Stone Oven, Stonefire Grill, The Paseo Club, The Shrimp Haus, Valencia Cigars & News, Valencia Country Club, Vines Restaurant & Bar, Whole Foods Market Valencia, Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewery, Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill.
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