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2012 Taste of the Valley Upcoming

Sample dishes from 17 local eateries at Taste of the Valley
By Andrea Brunty

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Courtesy photo
Jody Witt from JW Steakhouse, last year's People's Choice winner at Taste of the Valley, prepares samples for attendees.

For the past 25 years, hundreds of people have gathered to try the latest savory morsels from local restaurants at Taste of the Valley.

The main ingredient for the successful fundraiser for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County is simple: everybody wins.

The proceeds aid local young people through the center’s programs, the participating restaurants gain new customers and the community looks forward to the event every year, said Kay Woller, events and fundraising coordinator.

“Over $10,000 was raised last year, and we expect to top that,” Woller said.
About 350 people attended the event in 2011, and Jessica Payne, Volunteer Center executive director, expects about 400 at this year’s event Monday from 6-8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Decatur.

Many of the 17 participating vendors will follow the theme “Around the World in 80 Dishes,” either through booth decorations or entries in five categories: appetizer, side item, dessert, beef/pork and chicken/seafood. Judges will determine the top dishes.

You will be able to sample tasty items like Caribbean tenderloin, flatbread pizza, shrimp and grits, smoked pork, Southwestern pork loin and mango salsa with fried banana chips.

The desserts will include everything from brownies and cannolis to cupcakes and cakes of all kinds (think flavors like English toffee, red velvet, chocolate and peanut butter and chocolate Italian cream).

Restaurants participating for the first time are Moe’s Southwest Grill, Gigi’s Cupcakes, Elizabeth G’s in Hartselle, Dirt Road Barbeque, Wintzell’s Oyster House and Fulin’s Asian Cuisine.

Other participating restaurants are:

  • Our Place Bar and Grill
  • TimBuck 2
  • Sara Lynn’s Party World & Weddings
  • The Bakery and Deli
  • Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que
  • Momma’s Cafe
  • JW Steakhouse
  • Southern Reflections
  • Simply Delicious
  • Louie’s Restaurant
  • The Freight House/The Shak

A blue topaz necklace from Jimmy Smith Jewelers will be given away Monday night to raise funds for a new program. Each donation will earn you another chance to win.

The Volunteer Center youth councils will use the money for the Healthy Habits program at the Third Street Boys and Girls Club.

“Last year we focused on healthy eating; this year, we’re focusing on exercising habits. They want to get the kids to run a mile,” Payne said.

As an incentive to complete that goal, the teen volunteers hope to raise enough money to give each participant a pair of running shoes, she said.

Taste of the Valley tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Purchase them in advance at the Volunteer Center, Holiday Inn, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Hartselle Chamber of Commerce and Decatur Mall.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Volunteer Center’s youth programs, including KIVS — Kids Interested in Volunteer Service, Friend 2 Friend Mentoring Program, senior and junior high youth councils and RIF — Reading is Fundamental.

If you go
What: 25th annual Taste of the Valley to benefit the Volunteer Center of Morgan County
When: Monday, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Holiday Inn, 1101 Sixth Ave. N.E., Decatur
Cost: $20 in advance or $25 at the door
Details: 256-355-8628; vcomc.org.