It was a beautiful afternoon of glorious food and drink at Child & Family Center’s Taste of the Town – and the annual fundraiser generated much-needed proceeds for the local non-profit that provides mental health services to thousands of children and adults yearly in the Santa Clarita Valley.
In its 23rd year, the popular event set new records – with over 2,000 attendees enjoying tasty offerings from 48 of Santa Clarita’s best restaurants, caterers, and wine and beer purveyors, all in the beautiful garden setting of Mann Biomedical Park. When the final numbers were in, gross proceeds totaled $181,000 for Child & Family Center.
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“We are so grateful to all of the wonderful Child & Family Center supporters who came out for this year’s Taste of the Town”, said Lois Bauccio, Child & Family Center Foundation’s president and executive director, “The Center is currently faced with daunting state budget cutbacks – which recently forced the closure of our daycare program. But without the funds from this event, other programs would have also been eliminated. So we want to thank the great generosity of our presenting sponsors - Bank of Santa Clarita and Aquafine Corporation - as well as all of the other sponsors, restaurants and volunteers who truly made it possible. Every one of them is making a real difference for our community.”
This year Taste of the Town was co-chaired by Ginger LeVang and Scott Shepard, Child & Family Center Foundation board members. The event has long been considered a community highlight and a foodie’s dream with its amazing array of delicious food plus wonderful wines, beers and ales. But there are also a number of other great things going on each year that have made it the “Best Charity Event in the SCV” – as voted by a poll of local residents.
At this year’s event, Taste of the Town attendees had the opportunity to win a spectacular seven day cruise on Princess Cruises – and meet a long-time TV star, actor Gavin MacLeod, who starred in “The Love Boat” as Captain Merrill Stubing. MacLeod posed for photos with everyone who purchased $100 opportunity tickets for a cruise to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean or the sun-kissed Mexican Riviera. The coveted prize was won by Howard Abrams.
“The Champagne Diamond Drop” was another major highlight for everyone in attendance. Sponsored by Classic Designs Jewelry, owner Apo Yessayan had traveled to Belgium to personally hand-pick the sparkling one carat diamond to be given away. Tickets to enter were $25 and each entrant also received a glass of champagne and a shiny cubic zirconia. Becky Hollinger was the lucky winner.
Making this year’s Taste of the Town even more special, Alfred and Claude Mann flew in to attend. The Manns have graciously allowed Child & Family Center to hold the event on their property at Mann Biomedical Park for the past seven years.
Co-hosting all the festivities from the main stage were KCAL/CBS-TV anchorwoman Sandra Mitchell and entertaining emcee Ed Masterson. Child & Family Center’s Taste of the Town welcomed back platinum recording artist Mark LeVang and Friends - a talented group of musicians and singers who kept the crowd moving throughout the afternoon with an incredible mix of Rock, Pop, R&B, Latin, Jazz and Funk favorites. Live and silent auctions rounded out the day’s activities.
But above all else, Taste of the Town is a vital annual fundraiser for Child & Family Center in its mission to provide mental health and behavioral intervention services for local children, teens, adults and their families. Since 1976, the Center has helped many thousands of people overcome various issues. Last year alone, more than 4,500 children and adults received treatment for depression, anger, anxiety, abuse, thoughts of suicide, and drug and alcohol addictions, among other disorders. In addition to its four locations, Child & Family Center also has therapists on elementary, junior high and high school campuses throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. For further information regarding Child & Family Center, visit www.childfamilycenter.org 
To see the KHTS gallery of pictures from the Taste of the Town by photographer Will Davison, click here .