Tasting by the thousands

LIHUE — The dishes are put away, the wine glasses long dried and back in the cupboard.

But the final numbers for Taste of Kauai are in, and they’re up from last year.

“Every year we make a very concerted effort to improve and enhance the event,” said Ron Margolis, Kapaa Rotary member and Taste of Hawaii chair, who called this year’s turnout a big success.

The 27th annual food, beverage and entertainment extravaganza on June 7 raised $70,000. Around 1,500 people attended the Kapaa gathering, up about 150 people from the year before, and 250 volunteers helped out for the Sunday show that had nearly 50 vendors.

“It’s about 10 or 15 percent up from 2014,” Margolis said of the money raised, which will go toward service projects the Rotary Club of Kapaa supports, such as rescue tubes, bus shelters, projects in schools or through the Boys and Girls Club and other nonprofits. “A lot of the money goes right back to the kids.”

During 2005 and 2006, the event raised six figures. During the Great Recession, donations dipped to the $30,000 mark.

“That’s our goal to get back to the six figure mark,” Margolis said, adding the event is also put on to spread the word about Rotary clubs mission to support nonprofits and education. “Kauai has the highest per capita giving to nonprofits. A lot of fundraising is soliciting people and groups who want to support a cause.”

Next year’s event will feature voting on the silent auction via smartphone.

Guests make a bid on their phone, and will be alerted by text if they’ve been outbid.

But this year’s event isn’t completely wrapped up. People can log on and vote for the best dressed man and woman through July. View the entries on the Taste of Hawaii Facebook Page, and people can message Rotary with winning selections or send an email to TOHbestdressed@gmail.com.

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