“Taste of the Town” serves up unique fund raiser
A tasty fund-raiser was served up Saturday to benefit the Oasis High School athletic department, whose sports programs became sanctioned for the first year this year.
Volunteer Marci Gowek was in charge of selling food tickets for the “Taste of the Town.” She said at 12:30 p.m., an hour and a half after the event began, they had sold close to $1,500 in tickets, each costing a $1.
“I think it’s great,” she said about the event. “Anything that helps the schools and showcases some of the local businesses is good.”
Gowek said she thinks events like Taste of the Cape should be held more often.
“It is great to see the community together,” Gowek said, adding it “brings more awareness to what the kids need.”
The event also include a free children’s area, a special tribute to the troops, along with performances by Paradise Cheer & Dance, Dance Dimensions, Oasis High School Chorus and Extreme Martial Art. A silent auction also took place and Light 93.7 provided a live radio feed during the event as well.
Lindsey and her brother Riley Byers enjoyed spending time in the kids area Saturday afternoon. She had her face painted and made an Easter bunny egg, while her brother played the duck pond where he won candy, jacks and a mini bowling pin set.
Mother Maribel Mena-Byers said she enjoyed attending the event with her children because it was nice to see the kids involved in a fund-raiser. Her older son, she said had a booth set up during the event to try to get a hockey league started at Oasis High.
Debbie Berry also stopped by on Saturday with her family because her god-daughter and friends were involved in the dance performances. She found the event was interesting.
Some of the food vendors that participated in the event included Mimi’s Cafe, Chef “J” Bistro, Sabitino’s, Jill’s Joint, Pizza Buds, Chicago Pizza and more. Half of the money raised was split for the athletic department and the vendors.
Senior Kyle “Butch” Debkowski helped prepare Caribbean meatballs, teriyaki chicken skewers and vegetarian bruschetta for the event on Saturday. He joined the culinary arts program this year at Oasis High School and recently began working at Chef “J” Bistro.
“My father owns a restaurant, so I enjoy everything in its entirety,” he said about working in the restaurant business since he was 13.
Jethro Joseph, Oasis High culinary arts teacher and owner of Chef “J” Bistro, said six of his students helped with the event on Saturday. He said everything that was prepared for Taste of the Town is also featured on the restaurant’s menu.
Nancy Stanley was also at the event on Saturday as a volunteer from Jill’s Joint where she was serving pulled pork and biscuits and gravy. She said Oasis High called them and asked if they wanted to participate in the event.
“We always like to support our local schools,” Stanley said was why they agreed to take part.
Bob Ide with Pizza Buds said they had seven pizzas delivered at a time on Saturday to keep the pizza fresh. The pizza place, which recently opened on Del Prado Boulevard, moved to the area from Pennsylvania with 84 pounds of cheese and 1,000 pounds of tomato sauce.
Volunteers George Reilly and Jesslyn Woolsey were selling mild and signature wings from Chicago Pizza. They decided to help out with the event because their daughter attends Oasis High.
Reilly said the event was well planned and organized and featured a lot of good food.
“For the first one, they really did a good job,” he said.
Woolsey said it was great to see so many people coming out to support the event.
Reilly said he is very pleased with Oasis Elementary, middle and high schools, which are part of the city of Cape Coral operated charter school system.
“The principals and teachers are great,” he said. “I’m really happy with the way it’s run.”
Oasis High secretary Angie Niedzwiecki, who was selling school T-shirts inside of the school on Saturday, said she hopes the Taste of the Town event grows bigger and bigger every year.
“I think this is wonderful,” she said adding it was something different for them. “I think it’s a fabulous idea … I hope it grows and we can hold it each year.”
Athletic Director James Bowman said out of the 351 students enrolled at Oasis High School, between 130-135 are currently participating in one of the sports being offered. Those sports include swimming, golf, six-man football, volleyball, cross country, track, basketball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, softball, tennis and cheerleading.
The athletic program currently costs up to $60,000 a year to run, which will only increase once the student population grows. The first increase the athletic department will experience will be during the 2012-2013 school year when the football team becomes an 11-man team.
The first Taste of the Cape event was scheduled because Bowman wanted to hold a fund-raiser that was different from selling magazines and candy, so the athletic department could be self-sufficient in paying for all of its athletic needs.