Sampling flavors from around Jessamine County never felt or tasted so good for Sam Lee as it did last Friday night.
As one of the coordinators and community president from First Southern National Bank, Lee said the annual Taste of Jessamine County has always been the toast of the town when it comes to giving back to the community.
The $10-per-person benefit dinner had roughly 50 cooks who put their best food forward with samples ranging from the very sweet Magical Magistrates chocolate-covered strawberries dipped by Jessamine County magistrate Tim Vaughan to the very spicy “man-card-earning” buffalo chicken dip brewed by county attorney Brian Goettl.
“We’re here to support First Southern and the two organizations that they’re donating all the proceeds to,” said Ronda May of Hospice of the Bluegrass. “It’s a great way to be out in the community and give back.”
For the past decade and a half, officials at the bank have convened to select two nonprofit organizations to receive the proceeds.
This year, First Southern chose to donate an estimated $7,500 from the evening to the Community Service Center of Wilmore-High Bridge and the Jessamine Christian Church backpack ministry.
Lee said members get together each year to vote on the most deserving nonprofit.
The community center, which is a partner with God’s Pantry Food Bank and the United Way, is a family-focused nonprofit.
The backpack ministry is an outreach from the Jessamine Christian Church that focuses on helping school children by sending them home each Friday with a backpack full of enough food for the weekend.
“This is my fourth year,” said Suzanne Short, event coordinator from First Southern. “(My favorite) is being with all the people and the nonprofits, and realizing that First Southern’s doing their best to make a difference in the community.”
There was more than just food to sample as both a silent auction and a live auction added a little more spice to the evening.
There was a basketball signed by University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, two UK men’s basketball tickets, UK leather cowboy boots, a nostalgic popcorn machine and the chance at a $1,500 bathroom remolding — all up for grabs to the highest bidder.
But there was one item that caught nearly everyone’s eye displayed by the door — a 2011 green Epiphone special guitar signed by a majority of the bands who played at Ichthus last year.
“This event is all about giving away to good organizations,” Dan Lewis said. “Another event we’re going to be sponsoring this year is Ichthus, June 20-23, with the theme ‘live love.’ We encourage everyone locally to come out that Saturday night, because it will be a community night like this.”