Taste of Jefferson County set for Oct. 8

WINTERSVILLE – Some new restaurant participants will join with returning favorites to make the 19th-annual Taste of Jefferson County a successful fundraiser and fun social evening out for area residents, organizers say.

“Gems and Jeans” is the theme of this year’s event, which will be held Oct. 8 at St. Florian Hall, with doors opening at 5 p.m. and continuing until around 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 per person with $20 of that amount tax-deductible. They can be purchased by calling the United Way office at (740) 284-9000; from event committee members; or at the door. All proceeds benefit the United Way’s 19 member agencies.

The three-hour event hailed as “a unique culinary experience” will give patrons an opportunity to sample the specialties of an anticipated 20 area restaurants, caterers and bakeries and enjoy a cash bar. A flavored coffee bar is hoped to be a new addition.

They also can cast a ballot not only for the Best of Restaurants bragging rights, but also new this year for the Best of Bakeries honors, with the winners each awarded a traveling trophy.

Additionally, they can try their luck with a $10 ticket for the gift card tree; buy a mystery gift bag ticket for $10; and hope their key for $20 or six for $100 unlocks the treasure chest in which a to-be-announced grand prize will be jewelry once again from Discovery Jewelers.

Last year’s prize was a $4,500 18-karat gold diamond ring donated by Chip and Chris Warren, owners of the Wintersville business.

Jodi Scheetz, director of the A.L.I.V.E. Shelter, one of the United Way-funded agencies, is chairman of the event for the fourth year, but has been on the planning committee for 18.

She joined with Beth Rupert-Warren, the United Way’s executive director, to lay the groundwork Tuesday morning at a planning meeting at St. Florian Hall.

“We’re looking for a nice turnout this year. It’s important for us to help raise their dollars because we benefit from those,” Scheetz said.

“We decided to go with the ‘Gems and Jeans’ theme this year, and we have a wonderful gift being donated from Discovery Jewelers, which is our gem,” she said. “We’re real excited about it – raising money for the United Way – and next year we’ll puff it up a little more,” she said, referring to 2014 ushering in the 20th year for the fundraiser.

“We have some new restaurants this year and some nice prizes,” Scheetz added.

Food newcomers, to name a few, include the Dove Restaurant and Frank’s, both in Bloomingdale; Texas Roadhouse in Steubenville; and LA Pizza and the Adena American Legion, both in Adena.

Joining them are event anchor establishments, including Manfred’s, Aubrey’s, Figurski’s Catering, Piergallini’s Catering, Mama G’s Catering, Froehlich’s Classic Corner, Zalenski’s Family Eatery and Pub, Downtown Bakery, Iggy’s Pizza and Pasta, Applebee’s, the Ville Restaurant, Naples, Dolce Pizzelles Cookie Co., A Touch of Elegance and a chocolate fountain from Joe Ighnat.

Anthony Mougianis, campaign chair for the second year running, is enthusiastic about this year’s installment.

“It’s a wonderful event that we have every year that really helps propel us into our campaign, and so we’re tickled pink as always to have it,” Mougianis said. “This is one of our traditions with United Way.”

This year’s overall campaign goal is $440,000.

Beth Rupert-Warren, executive director of the United Way of Jefferson County, said, “I’m just really excited. I think it’s great. We have businesses’ support from all over. We have a lot of restaurants and businesses that are anchor businesses showing support and a lot of new businesses from all over the county. There’s unity in the community here,” she said.

In addition to Scheetz, the event planning committee includes Rupert-Warren, Mike Florak, Anita Jackson, Sheila Riffle, Chrissy Taylor, Kathy and Lew Musso, and Jodi Goff, administrative assistant.