ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The table is set for the 12th annual Taste of the Valley, which will be presented by the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville this coming week.
The club's biggest annual fund-raiser and most popular annual food-filled social event returns to the James E. Carnes Center at the new Belmont County Fairgrounds, located off Roscoe Road west of St. Clairsville, this Thursday from 5-8 p.m.
Last year, the Rotary Club relocated the Taste of the Valley to the Carnes Center, a sprawling venue which offers much more space. This translates to more elbow room and more seating for guests, as well as room for more participating restaurants and caterers, who will be on hand to serve up a smorgasbord of their finest cuisine.
T-L File Photos/GLYNIS VALENTI
THE SWEET aroma of Eat’n Park’s signature Grilled Stickies a la mode, being prepared above during last year’s Taste of the Valley, is enough to stimulate the appetite of any fan of fine food. This year’s Taste of the Valley, presented by the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville, returns to the James E. Carnes Center at the Belmont County Fairgrounds this Thursday, bringing 19 of the area’s top restaurants and caterers to tantalize your taste buds.
Those in attendance will be treated to samples of some of the best dishes from 19 area restaurants and caterers. As always, the event will be welcoming back several popular participants that are veterans to the Taste of the Valley, as well as a number of newcomers.
Among those participating in this year's event will be Applebee's, Bethesda Market & Catering, Bob Evans, The Cooky Jar, Ye Olde Alpha, Domino's Pizza, Eat'n Park, Tim Horton's, Subway, Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream, Main Street Grill, Honey Baked Ham, Osaka Japanese Steak House, Panera Bread, Riesbeck's Catering, Tlaquepaque Mexican Grill, Cafe Burress, Outback Steakhouse and Tina's Sweet Celebrations.
There will be plenty of space to move inside the spacious Carnes Center during the extravaganza. Following last year's event, guests and participants agreed that the move to the new venue was a welcome change. For the first 10 years, the annual Taste of the Valley was held at the Belmont Hills Country Club, which served the event well. However, the popular gathering continued to grow in popularity each year, and if crowds of up to 500 guests showed up at the same hour, the venue became quite packed, Rotarians noted.
The Rotary Club of St. Clairsville would like to thank all of this year's sponsors of the 12th
annual Taste of the Valley. They include:
Toothman Funeral Home
Harvey Goodman Realtor
Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream
Home & Crematory
Jenkins Sporting Goods
Belmont Savings Bank
Fregiato, Myser & Davies
Capstone Holding Company
Belmont Physical Therapy
Hocking Eye Care
Tri-State Machine Inc.
Blue Ribbon Rentals
Ohio University Eastern
Participating restaurants and caterers for the 12th Annual Taste of the Valley include:
Bethesda Market & Catering
The Cooky Jar
Ye Olde Alpha
Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream
Main Street Grill
Honey Baked Ham
Osaka Japanese Steak House
Tlaquepaque Mexican Grill
Tina's Sweet Celebrations
The Carnes Center will be decorated and ready to go Thursday, club members said, and this year, 100 additional tickets have been printed to allow more guests to attend.
Rotarians are again hopeful the event will be blessed with a spell of pleasant April weather that will allow guests to comfortably congregate outdoors if they choose to do so. In years past, the event was held in mid-March, which at times kept overflow crowds at the country club crammed indoors. In recent years, however, the Taste of the Valley has been moved to a date a little later in the spring, opening an opportunity to allow for better weather.
"We had a great response after we moved the Taste of the Valley to the Carnes Center last year," said Rotarian Mark Macri, chairman for this year's event. "There's just a lot more space there, and it allows us to invite more restaurants and more guests, as well."
Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Taste of the Valley has not only become one of the area's most popular social events, it also serves as the (Noon) Rotary Club of St. Clairsville's more important annual fund-raising event.
Club members have stressed that without the participating restaurants and caterers, the event would not be possible. Several area businesses also provide funding support and services to help make the extravaganza possible, and Rotarians extended a sincere "thank you" to all of this year's sponsors.
Those attending the Taste of the Valley should bring a big appetite. The participating restaurants and caterers will all be working to dazzle hundreds of hungry guests who will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite dishes served by the participants. This year, voting will continue through the duration of the event, the votes will be tallied at the end of the evening. Winners will be announced in categories which include Best Entree, Best Appetizer, Best Dessert, Most Creative Chef, Best Decorated Display and Best Overall. The Times Leader's own roving food critics, the Taste Buds - who will once again be on hand sampling the array of dishes being served during Thursday's big event - will announce the winners in an upcoming column about the Taste of the Valley to appear in a subsequent edition of the newspaper's weekly entertainment section The Ticket.
The event gives the participating restaurants and caterers a chance to showcase their most outstanding menu items and reach many new potential patrons. In turn, connoisseurs of great food get a chance to sample cuisine from many different local establishments, and they may just find a new favorite dish in the process while enjoying a fun-filled evening.
In addition to the smorgasbord of food that will tantalize your taste buds at this year's Taste of the Valley, there will also be another popular silent auction and Chinese auction featuring scores of items donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals. There will also be a cash bar open during the event.
Thanks to major fund-raising events like the Taste of the Valley, the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville is able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to local, national and international projects, in addition to awarding scholarships to local students, providing new dictionaries to every third-grade student in Belmont County each year, and assisting with local charitable organizations.
The Rotary Club of St. Clairsville has helped major projects in the area, such as the development of the Capstone Soccer Complex, renovation of the playground area at Memorial Park in St. Clairsville, construction of shelters at the park, providing support for the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District's Stadium Improvement Project, and assisting with a host of other projects.
Tickets for this year's Taste of the Valley are $25 per person and are available for purchase from members of the club. Tickets will also be sold at the door, however, only 600 tickets have been printed, so guests are urged to obtain tickets in advance.
For additional information about tickets or the 2012 Taste of the Valley, contact club secretary Jeanette Williams at (740) 695-6220.