Second annual Taste of Chilton ‘complete success’

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

The Rotary Club of Chilton County and Senior Connection worked in unison to put on the second annual Taste of Chilton event on Sept. 17.

Restaurants from across Chilton County were represented, as vendors set up booths to allow those who had purchased tickets to sample their wares.

According to Gordon Swenson, the president of the local chapter of the Rotary Club, 348 tickets were accounted for by the end of the night, which was exactly 100 more than was taken up at last year’s inaugural event.

“I think it was a complete success,” he said. “Chilton County has a lot of great restaurants. Residents can eat well while staying here in the county; they don’t have to go to Alabaster or Prattville or Montgomery or Birmingham. I think the Taste of Chilton helps remind people they can do well at home.”

Attendees had the opportunity to vote on which vendor they thought did the best in three categories: sweet, savory and overall.

Pies by Mike won the sweet category, Smoking Guns BBQ received the most votes in the savory category and Country Lane Too came out on top in the overall category out of more than 20 vendors represented.

“It was phenomenal,” said Senior Connection director Vanessa McKinney. “At one point, I think we had over 400 people in here (counting the vendors and children). We had a great turnout. We would love to have every restaurant in Chilton County to come. I think it’s a great opportunity for them. Everyone who was here had a lot of good things to say about it, and the vendors appreciated the opportunity to get their names out there.”

One of the main benefits of attending the Taste of Chilton is getting the opportunity to sample food from several different establishments, especially some that one might not have had the opportunity to try before. Those in attendance are also very unlikely to leave hungry.

“There was so much food. It was ridiculous, and a lot of variety,” McKinney said. “You had the opportunity to taste their specialties. It was fantastic. Everybody came together for it, and we thank our sponsors so much. You hardly ever get anybody to say no in this community; it’s such a giving community. We all have to work together. All of this money will go back into the community and into Senior Connection.”

Swenson said the Rotary Club will also be keeping the funds raised by the event local.

“We provide funds for different groups in the county,” he said. “Money raised will help buy dictionaries for next year’s third grade students. We will look at some different organizations in Chilton County that we feel could benefit from some funds.”

Given the success of the first two events, Swenson and McKinney both expressed interest in holding the event in perpetuity.

However, they both also mentioned that given the event’s growth, a new venue might have to be sorted out in the future.

“If we outgrow this space, we will explore other options,” McKinney said.

Swenson also thanked the community for their support as well as the group of Student Government Association students from Chilton County High School for their “fantastic help.”

Photos from the event can be found here.