By VICKI BRADNER
Sixteen years ago, Larry Zoeller and Donn Irby were taking a risk, somewhat flying by the seat of their pants, to bring the first Taste of Chesapeake to the community. To fulfill their vision, they sent wives and friends out to secure the restaurant commitments, and they dug into all the details it would take to make it happen. Time and efforts zoomed by; and before they knew it, the moment was upon them. After a full day’s work preparing the location for the event, Larry headed home to change clothes, worrying that no one would show up. Before he returned, Donn called and said, “You won’t believe this! You cannot even get into this place, there are so many people here!” And so the tradition began: an evening of friends and business associates kicking off the holiday season with good food, drink, and music…and all for such a great cause!
This year’s 16th annual Taste of Chesapeake which will be held on November 14 will be no exception. Eric Worden, of Bob FM, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, and The Tiki Bar Band will offer the enticement for guests to strut their stuff on the dance floor. Beautifully decorated trees and wreaths will be available in a silent auction. Twenty local restaurants will serve samples of a special delicacy from their establishments to accompany the complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks. Guests will vote for three special awards regarding food presentation.
Tickets are available at the Greenbrier and Great Bridge locations of TowneBank, the Chesapeake Care Clinic at 2145 Military Highway, and the Gift Shop at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Individual tickets are $40 and reserved tables for ten seated guests are $500.
“It’s all about the patients!” responded Ginger Hampton when questioned about her role as chairman of The Taste of Chesapeake. And right she is! This very special event benefits the Chesapeake Care Clinic and Hampton Roads Dental Center, just as it has since its inception sixteen years ago. Chesapeake Care Clinic offers medical assistance to individuals who fall between the provider cracks, those who make too much for one service and not enough for another. For example, there are John and Linda, both patients there since 2011. John’s neurological problems have left him disabled and in severe pain. Their battle through the red tape of qualifying and not qualifying for one program, then another, was finally resolved with the assistance of Chesapeake Care Clinic staff member, Marlaena Horn. Settled in a combination of doctor care, Medicare, and the clinic, John and Linda have peace of mind and the necessary medical attention.
As Cathy Revell, executive director of the clinic shared, “That is what safety net care looks like; giving folks a hand up in times of need.”
The Taste of Chesapeake is one of Chesapeake’s fifty official events celebrating the city’s fifty years. Join the celebration at the Chesapeake Conference Center on November 14 from 5 to 9 pm, enjoy the festivities, and be a part of the effort to support the Chesapeake Care Clinic and Hampton Roads Dental Center.