The 36th annual Taste of the Town [TOT] is in November this year, hoping to escape the October weather of the last several years.
“With two hurricanes and a flood, three of the last four years were plagued by weather-related issues,” said Jenna Cunningham, chairperson for the event.
Still, about 7,000 foodies showed up to enjoy the culinary event of tapas-style samples last year.
Taste of the Town is the primary fundraiser for St. Andrew Catholic School, and this year will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 N. Oak St., from 4-10 p.m.
For the second year, there will be food trucks at Taste of the Town, and this year, that will be expanded to include more than were there last year.
Another addition this year is St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church bringing a bake sale booth. A lot of the children who attend that church are St. Andrew students who Cunningham said are excited to be represented at TOT.
“St. Andrew’s has a bake sale and we get donations from local bakeries that don’t participate in Taste of the Town, and we’re very pleased to bring St. John’s in also,” Cunningham said.
Admission to Taste of the Town is $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Children younger than 14 are admitted free.
Tickets are available at the school, at 3601 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and online at www.totmb.org.
Food tickets inside the event are $1 each, with menu items costing between one and five tickets, depending on the restaurant and the item.
Some of the restaurants that will participate this year are 21 Main, Bar-B-Que, House, Mr. Fish, Fiesta Mexicana, Sticky Fingers, Famous Toastery, The Melting Pot, Melt and Ducatis.
In addition to the money raised going to improvement of the school and its grounds, a portion of it also goes to students’ scholarships.
“There is a connotation that the scholarships are academically-based,” said Cunningham, “But this is a tuition-assisted fund for those who might not be able to afford a private school.”
Some of the TOT money is also given to the parish youth group, and contributions are given to Help 4 Kids and Catholic Charities.
“The Taste of the Town brings our community together for one night when we can all just enjoy what our local restaurants have to offer, and it’s a time for fun, food and fellowship,” Cunningham said.
“That’s what draws people back year after year.”
Founded in 1956, St. Andrew Catholic School includes grades kindergarten through eighth.
In the past, funds from the Taste of the Town have provided for a new gym, a community life center, playground equipment, the updating of the A/C system, and safety features.
Money raised at the event has also helped pay for iPads for middle school students, Smart Boards, updated restrooms, furniture for the office, kindergarten and conference rooms, and even curtains for the stage.
Last year, computers were updated, iPad software was updated, and security was enhanced.
The Beer and Wine Garden will come back to TOT this year and will be at the floor’s center.
Last year, the floorplan was changed, putting the Beer and Wine Garden in the middle, and Cunningham said that change in the floorplan brought a lot of positive feedback.
“The space is more open now, it won’t be as congested and there will be a better flow of pedestrian traffic.”
She said it also helped with the noise level.
There will again be a silent auction this year, with many gift cards from participating restaurants.
Diamond sponsors for this year’s event are WBTW and McDonalds. Platinum sponsor is HTC. Gold sponsors are Better Brands and Pepsi, and the silver sponsor is US Foods.
“Taste of the Town is a time to celebrate Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, and a time to see friends you haven’t seen for a while,” Cunningham said.
“It’s a time to reconnect and embrace people, and what better way to do that than to share a meal around a table?”