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Taste of Columbus proves successful again

October 9, 2018

Hundreds of community members were wined and dined at the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center over the weekend, though it was all in the name of a good cause.

Sunday night’s 18th annual Taste of Columbus committee members had hoped to raise at least $50,000 through the event’s dinner and auction. Although the numbers weren’t finalized on Monday afternoon, committee co-chairperson Rick Chochon said he was confident that figure would be exceeded all said and done.

This year, funds were raised for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Area Future Fund, the latter of which provides grants to help fund projects in the local community, such as building an all-inclusive playground and the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial.

“It’s going great right now,” Chochon said on Sunday night as he, his wife/committee co-person Tracie Chochon and fellow committee co-persons Jaci Tessendorf and Ryan Tessendorf greeted people while they entered the venue. “There’s a big crowd and very good support.”

All funds raised at the Taste of Columbus for the Future Fund were scheduled to contribute to its “Toward a Bold Future” Campaign, which aims at raising $500,000. For the campaign, the Omaha based Sherwood Foundation will match all funds contributed by 50 percent, up to $250,000 of total funds raised by Dec. 31, 2020.

Nebraska pride was certainly on display throughout the night as food and beverage (wine, beer and spirits) vendors on hand came from across the state.

“They made the event unique and special for the attendees,” Jaci Tessendorf said. “The food vendors were fabulous and the wine and spirits vendors from across Nebraska were great. We really appreciate their support.”

After enjoying an array of food, wine and beer, residents took part in the silent and live auctions. The latter saw plenty of interesting items go up for bid, including a day trip of snowmobiling in Colorado, lots of Certified Angus beef and two tickets to an upcoming Nebraska football game. Of course, arguably the biggest highlight was the four-day trip to New York City, a trip that organizers said would be offered for the final time that night.

All and all, the Taste of Columbus’ success wasn’t a surprise to organizers, who touted residents for their continued support.

“I think we had a tremendous turnout and an excellent event,” Tessendorf said. “All of the bidders in the live and silent auctions were very generous. I hope people left feeling proud of their community and all Columbus has to offer in terms of generosity.”

Chochon shared a similar perspective in a separate conversation.

“It’s just Columbus,” he said, looking around the crowded room. “There’s a fundraiser going on and a social gathering, and people have always been great about supporting it.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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