05/27/2014 12:00AM ● Published by Jon Lewis
Photos: courtesy of Redding West Rotary
Redding West Rotary’s annual event, aptly titled Taste of Redding, is a fundraiser that just makes sense.
With some 20 participating restaurants, a dozen wineries and 15 regional brewers, it obviously appeals to one’s sense of taste.
With live music from five bands performing on four different stages, it easily covers the sense of hearing.
Mix in The Sculpture Park at City Hall, balloon animals, face painting and a photo booth and you’ve got the sense of sight handled.
But the greatest sense is one of goodwill: knowing that enjoying the appetizers, wine tastings and entertainment is actually a fun and tasty way to help the community, and the world, through Redding West Rotary’s service projects.
“We wanted one signature fundraiser that was also a community event,” says Maureen Gaynor, a Redding West Rotary member and chair of Taste of Redding. Proceeds from the eighth annual event, expected to be north of $30,000, will fund high school scholarships, leadership camps, the Shasta-Trinity ROP and civic projects like the landscaped fountain at the foot of Cypress Avenue.
At its heart, the event is a celebration of food in a family-friendly setting. Gaynor and the other volunteers organizing it have included attractions to engage people of all ages, including free airbrush tattoos, face painting, balloon animals and a photo booth.
The family-oriented attractions will be located in the area in front of City Hall, while most of the wine and beer tasting booths will be in the courtyard to the rear, behind a mesh fabric fence. A few wineries will be represented next to restaurants in the sculpture park to make wine pairings possible. The libations are certainly part of the fun, Gaynor says, but they’re not intended to be the focus.
Befitting the event’s name, Taste of Redding will highlight a variety of dining establishments so those in attendance can get a tasty update on Redding’s ever-evolving restaurant scene. “We’ve got a wide range: View 202, Clearie’s, Cicada Cantina, C.R. Gibbs—a lot of the top names and favorites in town,” Gaynor says.
Other restaurants in the lineup include Senor Rosa’s, Sweetie’s Barbecue, Market St. Steakhouse, Dutch Bros., Elements, Logan’s Roadhouse, Cinders Wood Fired Pizza, Great Harvest Bread Co., Marie Callender’s, Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant and the Woodside Grill at Gaia.
Breweries available for tastings include local upstarts Wildcard Brewing and Fall River, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Lost Coast, Dunsmuir Brewery Works, Widmer Brothers, Speakeasy, Crispin, Etna Brewing Co., Mendocino Brewing Co., ACE Ciders, Shock Top, Highwater Brewing and 21st Amendment.
Featured wineries will be Moseley Family Cellars, Alpen Cellars, Indian Peak Vineyards, Burnsini, Dakaro Cellars, Bertagna, Tehama Oaks, Matson Vineyards, New Clairvaux, Whispering Oaks and Merlo Family.
All that sampling and sipping will be set against a backdrop of continuous live music from four stages located around City Hall and in the sculpture park. Bands lined up to perform are The Billies (one of the returning favorites), Papa Fez, Upstate, Clearcut and One Sol.
Lining up restaurants, wineries, breweries, bands, entertainers and the volunteers to make sure it all goes smoothly is an all-hands-on-deck situation for Redding West Rotary members and the helpers they enlist, including members of the Exchange Club of Redding, California Highway Patrol cadets and members of Foothill Interact and the Rotoact Club at Shasta College.
Gaynor says it’s worthwhile, though. “It’s very gratifying for me, on the day of the event, to see everybody come together for the community, and to see it be a success for the restaurants, the startup breweries, the new restaurants … to see kids walking around with faces painted, eating pies from Marie Callender’s.”
“It is a tremendous amount of work that takes place throughout the entire year,” agrees Scott Shoffner, a Redding West Rotary member, “and it’s really good to be able to be a part of something that allows us to work really hard and see a really positive result and have a great time in the process.
“It builds fellowship between us as Rotarians and allows the community to have a real nice event and enjoy it with their families. They can enjoy some good food, drink some good libations and know their money is being spent right back here in this community.” •
Taste of Redding • Noon to 4 pm Sunday, June 8
Redding City Hall
General admission is free. Tickets required for food sampling and beer/wine tasting. Tickets are $40, adults food and wine; $30, food sampling only; $20, food only for kids 11 and under. Advance purchase discounts available through June 6 by visiting www.tasteofredding.org