Preparations under way for culinary event

Omar Velayudhan and Mary Lou Lawson pour sand into a display tray as part of their booth presentation at the Taste of the Grand Valley.

It’s the annual event that brings out the best of the best in Grand Valley cuisine.

“Some of these guys have a reputation to uphold,” said Amanda Crysler, development director for the United Way of Mesa County, as she helped prepare for the annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley event set to take place tonight. It is an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.

Many of the vendors at the show enjoy pulling out the stops as they compete for the annual “People’s Choice” award.

The Cowboy and Rose is one of those that takes the show seriously. Each year they construct an elaborately themed booth. This year, they enlisted the help of the Dinosaur Journey in Fruita to make a prehistoric display and meal. They’ll be serving pterodactyl wings and woolly mammoth. “It’s chicken and roast,” explained Mary Lou Lawson, owner of the catering company. “We’ve been here for years now and always look forward to it,” she said.

New to the show this year are cooking demonstrations given by local chefs Holly Garcia, Diana Tarasiewicz, and students of Western Colorado Community College’s Culinary Arts program.

Crysler expects more than 1.200 people to attend tonight’s event, which begins at 4 p.m. at Two Rivers Convention Center. She’s hoping to raise $30,000 through tickets sales, which will help meet the $1,200,000 goal set for the organization this year. Eighty percent of that goal has been met so far.

“Every dollar helps right now,” Crysler said.

Tickets are available at all City Market locations, Enstrom’s Candy, Mesa Mall Guest Services, Cumulus Broadcasting, Home Loan State Bank and at the United Way office. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults, $12 seniors, and $8 for children.


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