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Good time, good cause

September 30, 2018

Restaurants and wineries from all over the area will have their goods on full display at the 18th annual Taste of Columbus.

The charity event is set to run from 4:30-8 p.m on Oct. 7 at the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center, 265 33rd Ave. Tickets are now available to purchase online, at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s office and as the doors open for the event. This year, the Columbus Area Future Fund will be the beneficiary.

“It’s a showcase of Columbus,” said Jaci Tessendorf, co-chairperson on the Taste of Columbus committee. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate everything that’s here and hopefully raise a significant amount of money for the Future Fund so they can keep giving back to the city of Columbus.”

The Future Fund provides grants to help fund projects in the local community, such as building an all-inclusive playground and the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial. Half of all funds raised at the event will go toward the organization with the rest going to the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

Rick Chochon, co-chairperson for the Taste of Columbus committee, said the goal each year is to raise $50,000 from the dinner and auction. He said around 600 people attend the event and that attendance has been growing over the years.

All funds raised at the Taste of Columbus for the Future Fund will 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.

Taste of Columbus will feature both a silent and an oral auction. Such items include a full day trip to go snowmobiling in Colorado, two tickets to the Nebraska versus Michigan State football game, a 52-inch Roku SmartTV, two bags of Pioneer seed corn, Certified Angus Beef Strip loins and tickets to the University of Nebraska at Omaha versus Western Michigan hockey game.

Chochon said one of the auction’s highlights is a four-day trip to New York City, which will be offered for the last time in this year’s auction. Taste of Columbus will also feature a raffle for a diamond pendant necklace from McChristy Jewelers.

Last year, the beneficiary for the event was the Columbus Community Center and next year it will be NeighborWorks of Northwest Nebraska. Past event beneficiaries include various nonprofits within the local community, such as the Columbus Philanthropy Council, Platte County Historical Society, Columbus Public Library Foundation and the Columbus Public Schools Foundation.

This year’s food vendors include Wunderlich’s Catering, Subway, Fair Park Grille, Columbus Christian School, Apple Barrel Restaurant, Hy-Vee, Wendy’s, Sapp Brothers and Columbus Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center.

This year’s drink vendors include Eagle Distributing, James Arthur Vineyard, Johnson Brothers, Mac’s Creek Vineyard, Miletta Vista Winery, Prairie Creek Vineyard, Premier Midwest Beverage, Republic National Distributing and Sterling Distributing.

“It’s a blast, it’s a lot of fun,” Tessendorf said about Taste of Columbus. “You see people from the community and you get to taste the wonderful food and have some drinks and spend some money for a wonderful cause.”

“It’s a good time,” Chochon said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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