The Mountaintop Rotary Club will host their 7th “Taste of the Mountain” fundraising event on May 21, with both a new and familiar feel.
The annual fundraiser is meant to give the community a sampling of the tasty fare that is available on and around the mountain, give folks an opportunity for a relaxing afternoon, and provide the Rotary Club with some of the funds they have earmarked for community giving this calendar year. The popular event is also an opportunity for local restaurants to court some potential customers, and Rotary organizers are working to assemble about a dozen restaurants and caterers who will showcase their best recipes in the hopes that they find some new regulars to their restaurant.
“We want people to get a good feel for all the restaurants and hopefully find one that they haven’t visited yet,” said Mountaintop Rotary Club Immediate Past President, Paul Cwalina. “The participating restaurants put a lot of work into this, so we hope this event increases their business.”
So far the lineup for A Taste of the Mountain includes Evans Roadhouse, The Brass Buckle, Luigi’s, Simply Delicious Desserts, La Napoli, The Ice House Pub, King’s Ristorante, Cavanaugh’s Grill, Simply Homebrew, Honeyhole Winery, Basin Coffee and event newcomer, Sitko’s Farmhouse of White Haven. Participating restaurants prepare and donate the food, so more dollars go to the organizations earmarked for Rotary donations. Even if you have been to some of the restaurants participating this year, or have been to the event in past years, Cwalina relates that the participating chefs and brewmasters typically bring something new each year. He adds that the event also gives people the rare opportunity to interact with the folks who create the recipes and prepare the food.
Jazz music from Carl Krupa, which has been a staple of the event each year, will return. One major change, however, is that the event is returning to the Glen Summit Clubhouse where the inaugural Taste of the Mountain was held in 2010. Cwalina noted that the organizers wanted to return to the intimate feel that was such a big part of the original event. While an intimate setting may make for a very pleasant atmosphere, however, Rotary Club President, Michelle Reilly cautioned that the return to Glenn Summit meant that tickets would be in relatively short supply.
“Bringing it back here…means that we have to limit the number of tickets to 170,” explained Reilly. “Considering we sold more than 250 two years ago, we anticipate that demand is going to be tight.”
Because of this, Cwalina encourages folks to purchase their tickets well ahead of the event and not wait to purchase at the door. Reilly also suggested that folks like and keep up with the Rotary Club’s facebook page for announcements regarding the event.
The Mountaintop Rotary raises funds for community causes both locally and internationally. Rotary International has approximately 2 million members worldwide in 135 countries, whose dedicated mission is the eradication of Polio. The Mountaintop Rotary has had their donations to Rotary International matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Cwalina points out that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that remain where Polio still affects the population. Cwalina adds that with the near eradication of Polio, Rotary International has widened their focus to include fresh water availability and worldwide literacy.
Locally, the Mountaintop Rotary was chartered in 1989 and has a total of twenty-four members, from which two founding members remain active. The club organizes fundraisers throughout the year in addition to A Taste of the Mountain, such as a train ride along the Lehigh Gorge and annual 5K run in the fall. The Rotary Club has helped community organizations such as the Mountaintop Food Bank, local fire companies and ambulance associations, the Kirby Library, Make a Wish and Live with Autism.
“We are hoping to see people have