Taste of Pulaski County underway now at St. Robert Community Center
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Saturday, March 27, 2010 1:16 pm
Waffle House shift manager Matthew Griffith serves up breakfast at the Taste of Pulaski County.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (March 27, 2010) — Hungry for lunch? Want to visit an auction? The “Taste of Pulaski County” annual fundraiser is underway now at the St. Robert Community Center.
Opening at 11 a.m., the event features numerous local restaurants and food establishments including 5&Diner, Aussie Jacks, Charmed Cakes, Jitters, Miller’s Grill, Stefanos, Sweetwater Barbecue, Huddle House, the Drynk, Waffle House, Taco Bell, and three area bottlers, Missouri Eagle, Ozark Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Pepsi.
Admission costs $10 and allows patrons to sample food from as many restaurants as they want. Children ages 5 to 12 are $5; those 4 and under are admitted free.
“The event is to give everybody the opportunity to come out and taste some of the wonderful food that our restaurants have; it’s also to be able to participate in our major fundraiser of the year and be able to pick up some great deals on some wonderful baskets of merchandise,” said Chamber President Mike Dunbar.
Turnout has been excellent today, said Chamber Executive Director Cecilia Murray.
“185 adult tickets have already been sold; that is the first time we have ever sold that many this early,” Murray said shortly after noon, just an hour after the doors opened for the event.
Visitors today included Terry Colwell of St. Robert, who said he enjoyed breakfast food from Waffle House.
“The service is always good and it’s good food; this is here to support Pulaski County and I try to be here every year,” Colwell said.
Waffle House shift manager Matthew Griffith said he’s glad his business participates.
“I like giving back to the community,” Griffith said. “We have a bunch of regulars who come in all the time and we like to come here and show what we can do. We’re open all the time and we like to give service with a smile.”
Dunbar said the “Taste of Pulaski County” has been held annually since 1995 and has become the biggest single fundraiser for the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, it’s typically generated about $15,000.
Much of that money comes from the basket auctions; numerous area businesses have donated 106 baskets which will be auctioned off by local auctioneer Richard Baptiste.
“The baskets are donated by local businesses in our community because they understand the importance of the Chamber of Commerce and they want to see us continue and succeed,” Dunbar said. “For instance, Security Bank is donating four Cardinals tickets that are three rows behind home plate that have a value of $250 each; Piney Valley Golf Course is donating a family golf membership; Armed Forces Bank has donated a wonderful basket that has all types of goodies in it.”
There’s no minimum bid for most items.
“Richard Baptiste has been the auctioneer for as many years as I can remember, and we’ll see what they go for; in past years, they’ve gone for anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars,” Dunbar said.
Doors for today’s event opened at 11 a.m. but the auction began later. Dunbar made an opening speech for the auction at 12:30 a.m. with a “yee-haw!” call, based on the Wild West theme of this year’s event. There will be entertainment breaks at 1:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. with songs by Lois Ann Marler, with the live auctions running from 12:35 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., 1:50 p.m. to 2:50 p.m., and 3:10 p.m. to 4 p.m. A silent auction is also underway from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Other guests at today’s event include Erin Watts, Ms. Rodeo Missouri, McKenna Wilmes, Ms. Teen Rodeo Missouri, Josie Milner, Junior Ms. Rodeo Missouri, and Cheyenne Lewis, Little Ms. Rodeo Missouri, all of whom are auction helpers working with Baptiste and Sherrie Norris reflecting the Wild West theme of the event.