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Annual Taste of Chilton County coming up

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

The third annual Taste of Chilton County is less than a month away, meaning anyone who would like to be a sponsor or attend the event as a vendor is running out of time to secure their spots.

The Rotary Club of Chilton County and Senior Connection in Clanton partner each year to put on the event, which will be held at Senior Connection Oct. 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Taste of Chilton County features food from many local vendors and restaurants. Attendees vote for their favorite selection in three categories, and the person or group with the most votes wins. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door or from Rotary Club or Senior Connection.

The categories are Best Savory, Best Sweets and Best Overall, which were won by Tom Carter of Smoking Guns Bar-B-Que, Mike Graham of Pies by Mike and Barbara Minor of Country Lane Too respectively in 2018.

“With it being our first year open it felt great (to win the category),” Carter said. “We picked up a lot of business from it. We had a lot of people come up because they came to the Taste of Chilton County.”

Graham began selling his wares out of his home in November 2014.

“It was great, especially when there was some great competition,” he said. “We did see an uptick in business. Being a part of the Taste of Chilton County benefited us most definitely.”

Minor began her catering business, County Lane Too, about 15 years ago.

She said it feels “really good” to have been selected as the Best Overall winner from last year’s event.

“It makes you feel good because you know a lot of people in your hometown feel that way about you,” she said. “I think we got some really good advertising from it.”

Around 350 people attended the 2018 event, and plans are in place to accommodate an even larger crowd this year. Around $14,000 was raised at the 2018 event, and the goal has been raised to $15,000 for 2019.

All of the funds raised at the event benefit local groups.

The sponsorships include three levels: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

There is no cost to register as a vendor for the event outside of bringing enough food to hand out samples to a large crowd.

For more information on sponsorship costs and accompanying perks or to register as a vendor, please contact Gordon Swenson of the Rotary Club at 205-907-4219 or Vanessa McKinney of Senior Connection at 205-755-8227.

According to Swenson, proceeds from last year’s event benefited Senior Connection, the Department of Human Resources foster care program, third graders across Chilton County and Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

Rotary Club sent six local students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp event earlier this year with money raised by the Taste of Chilton County.

Senior Connection uses some of the proceeds to fund activities and trips made by local seniors who are members of the organization.

Rotary Club and Senior Connection purchased 10 Chromebooks earlier this year that went to classrooms at local schools to benefit students. These were purchased with funds raised at the Taste of Chilton County as well.