Greatest Spectacle in Tasting

ALL THE FOOD — Attendees of the 25th Annual Greatest Spectacle in Tasting were treated to samples of prime rib from Grindstone Charley’s. In addition to 29 other restaurants that served up delicious food, more than 150 wines and microbrews, live music, and Solidarity’s wind cash machine all made the event the most successful one yet.

Looking back through all of the articles I’ve submitted since 2016, I realized that I’ve never written a Greatest Spectacle in Tasting wrap-up article before. I think it’s because there’s so much time and energy focused on making the event a success that when it’s over we work on getting it all cleaned up and organized, and then we are quickly onto the next thing. So, this year I decided I was going to take just a minute and breathe and reflect on what just happened.

First, if you don’t know me personally let me give you a little insight – I’m honest and opinionated. When something works great, I’ll give you all the praise and credit where it’s due. But, when something doesn’t work as well as I had hoped, I’ll tell you that, too. I feel like that’s how we grow, learn, and improve as humans. I love finding new ways to do things, and hope I never get so resistant to change that I find myself saying, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Now, with that background in mind let me tell you about the 25th Annual Greatest Spectacle in Tasting. It was absolutely fabulous! And you know I wouldn’t lie to you (see above paragraph). The weather was wonderful, the attendees were abundant, the volunteers were friendly, the flow of the set up was new and exciting, the restaurants food was spot on, the wind cash machine was a hit, the decorations were beautiful, the music was superb, the silent auction items were a plenty, and the adult beverages were never-ending.

And, to top it all off, we raised more money this year than the event has ever raised in the last 25 years -- $62,000. Now, that figure isn’t down to the exact dollar yet because we are still paying some bills, waiting on some silent auction items to get picked up/paid for, and I don’t want to mislead you. We are overwhelmed and so grateful. We couldn’t have done it without the backing of Soupley’s Wine & Spirits, Lisa and Kyle Rayl, and the community support. Honestly, from the sponsors (more than $44,000 worth) to the silent auction item donors (more than 140 different lots worth of items valuing more than $100 each), and the attendees (more than 500), this event is the largest fund raiser for Bona Vista Programs. We couldn’t be happier with the end result.

So, what is there to do next year to make it even better? That is still to be determined. We haven’t had an official “wrap-up” meeting yet, but we will soon. That’s where we will flush out what worked great, what didn’t work so well, and talk about what we want to do differently next year. Then, in November, we will get started on the 26th annual where we hope to hit the million-dollar mark! Lisa and Kyle Rayl from Soupley’s probably never thought they would see the day where they had raised a million dollars for Bona Vista (considering there was only $1,000 raised the first year of this event). With the help of the community, though, it’s totally possible that we could do that next year!

If you’ve still never attended the event, I really hope you will consider it for next year – May 16, 2020. Not only is it kind of an official kick off to summer festival season in Kokomo, but the proceeds benefit such a great cause. Sure, I’m a little biased, but the adults and children we serve are some of the best humans you will ever meet. They are worth the exhaustion that comes with event prep and execution. I would do this event every month if it meant raising the funds needed to get them quality staff, provide them with excellent curriculum, and remind them that someone is fighting for them to have their best life every single day.