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Taste of Mower to host wider variety of flavors

Published 10:20am Monday, April 1, 2013

A greater variety of flavors will make up this year’s Taste of Mower County.

The Arc of Mower County’s third annual fundraising event will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Austin Holiday Inn, 1701 Fourth St. NW. Guests can vote on their favorite chefs, and take part in the cash bar, wine tastings and live and silent auctions.

Compared to last year, the Taste will have a greater variety of foods, as each participant will bring more dishes along, said Arc Program Director Jamey Helgeson. Guests will be able to decide which of them is best.

“People that go there get to vote for their favorite chefs in the home chef and restaurant chef category,” Helgeson said.

There will be five home chefs in the event and five affiliated with area establishments such as Hy-Vee and the restaurant at Sweet’s Hotel in LeRoy. Their dishes will include smoked windsor chops, a variety of soups, barbecue ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches, cheesecake and teas.

“There’s quite a variety of foods,” Helgeson said, adding the chefs are given a lot of flexibility in deciding what they will make. “We don’t give them a menu, they just come up with their own.”

Separate from voting on chefs, the Taste will feature silent and live auctions for goods like a two-night stay at Beaver Trails Jellystone Campground, dinner and a show for two at Chanhassen Dinner Theater, and a four-person stay at the Holiday Inn Water Park in Owatonna. Other items include a winery tour and jewelry. About 35 items will be available in the silent auction.

Many people have already signed up for the Taste, but tickets are still available.

“We’re at right about 100 tickets sold,” Helgeson said, adding The Arc is shooting for 150 to 200 people, which is about the turnout it had last time.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 507-433-8994 or by visiting www.arcmowercounty.org. The cost is $25 for individuals, $40 for couples, $75 for a half table of four people and $150 for a full table of eight. They may also be purchased the day of the event.

The proceeds raised go toward funding programs that help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Helgeson said, including a recreation program and a housing program that helps them locate affordable housing.

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