Taste of Coshocton is evening of fun, friends and food

| August 14, 2017

Monty Shell, plant operations manager from Buckeye Brine, presents a check for $25,000 to Tom Heading, president of the United Way Board at the Taste of Coshocton Event held on Thursday, Aug. 10. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Thirty minutes before the official start of the annual Taste of Coshocton event, the line of people waiting to get in stretched from the patio of the Lake Park Pavilion to the parking lot. Signs listing all of the agencies that the United Way supports lined the path as friends laughed together and wondered what goodies waited for them inside.

This was the 13th year for the United Way fundraiser. Bee Lehner was on the United Way Board several years ago and remembers when the Taste of Coshocton was held on the court square instead of the pavilion. “We sat tables up near Fourth Street and the gazebo. Some venders needed electricity and I remember we had to get permits to run cords for them.” Lehner has attended most of the Taste of Coshocton events and said it’s a great way to raise money for local people and have fun with friends at the same time.

Laurie Stephan, United Way Board member and representing AEP, was selling tickets outside the door early in the evening. She said she thought they had sold close to 400 tickets before the event. Each ticket was $10 and was good for 10 samples of their choice from the 14 venders inside. Stephan said attendees could also purchase 50/50 tickets or raffle tickets for a chance to win one of 13 Longaberger baskets overflowing with items. Each basket was valued at more than $200.

Patty Wherley, executive assistant of United Way, was selling raffle and 50/50 tickets inside. She said the fundraiser was slightly different this year, as each ticket holder could only get one sample from each vendor. In other years, people were grabbing 10 samples, such as cupcakes, from one person and some of the venders ran out of food.

George Jones Sr. is the owner of Grand Mom Minnie’s Munchies. He and Seth Martin created a table of delicious desserts that included peach cobbler, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter filled brownies and pecan tarts. Jones said this is the second year he has participated in the event and that last year he won second place in the sweet contest. When asked how long it took to create everything, Jones and Martin laughed.  Jones said, “We bake for a while and go watch TV, then bake some more.”

Papa John’s has been a part of Taste of Coshocton since it began. Noah Gallagher, general manager of the restaurant said by the end of the evening, they will have given away 30 pizzas and 30 orders of garlic knots. Healthy’s of Coshocton was offering two types of shakes and a tea sample. Hardee’s brought chicken strips and was a favorite of the many children at the event. During the event, Brad Fuller played his guitar and sang, which brought several children to the front of the room to dance.

Lyn Mizer, executive director of United Way, said their goal this year is $350,000.  The corporate sponsor is Century National Bank. “We direct the money donated to partner agencies. They are the reason we are here – to raise money for local people.  The money you give stays in Coshocton County and we have very little overhead, with only two part time employees.”

Buckeye Brine is a pace setter this year. The company gave the United Way a check for $25,000 at the event. Monty Shell, plant operations manager of Buckeye Brine, presented the check. Shell said, “We are glad to contribute to the United Way because the money stays right here in Coshocton and helps agencies such as Coshocton CARES and Boy Scouts. That means a lot to us.”

Tom Heading, president of the United Way Board, was walking around the event, greeting people and taking donations to the agency. “This year, we are using a square account, which means we can swipe debit and credit cards right at the tables for people to donate. We e-mail them a receipt right away.” In past years, people attending the event could donate cash or checks, but this makes donations safer as no one is carrying large amounts of cash. “We just really appreciate the community supporting us. We have teens here helping with setting up tables, clearing tables, helping venders – wherever they are needed.”

All of the vendors vied to be named either the best “sweet” or “savory” food. At the end of the evening, Shumaker Farms was declared the winner of the savory contest, with The Real McCoy BBQ coming in second. In the sweet category, Hannah Marie’s was first and Olde Thyme Country Market was second.

Money that is donated to the United Way is used to support several agencies in Coshocton. The list includes: Girl and Boy Scouts, Coshocton CARES, TLC, Maternal and Child Health Clinic, First Step, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Handicapped Society, Rising Tide and Coshocton County recreation clubs.


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