Traditionally, the Taste of Casa Grande is like a giant celebration and party that is held once a year to benefit Against Abuse, Inc., a private, non-profit agency that provides shelter and related services to women and children in crisis.
In the beginning, three entities: The Property/Bedillons, The Francisco Grande and The Holiday Inn rotated the task of serving as the host restaurant. Being the host means making banquet space available for 20 to 25 individual restaurants to set up their booths and provide samples of their specialties to the attendees, who usually number between 450 and 500 people.
The host restaurant provides the tables and linens needed to set up each booth, as well as plates, cups, napkins and flatware. The host provides a floor plan that shows how and where the restaurant spaces will be located and the host further provides coffee, tea, water and ice at strategic spots around the main room(s). Each host sets up their own bar(s), from which they sell whatever beverages they choose.
Other amenities that hosts provide include electricity to those restaurants that need it, tables and linens for the raffle and door prizes, a microphone for announcements, tables from which to sell raffle tickets, and any other details that crop up when a major event is taking place. The host also provides bussing services, and if they chose, can be assisted in this by young people who volunteer through their school classes or a church group.
The individual restaurants that participate do so at their own expense. They donate all the food, servers, and helpers. Each restaurant sets up it own area using the tables, etc., provided by the host. Traditionally, the restaurants begin arriving between 8:30 and 9:00 AM on the day of the Taste, allowing themselves plenty of time to get set up and organized as they choose. Attendees usually begin lining up for admission around 11:00 AM; however, the doors do not open until all the restaurants are ready to begin. Normally, the doors will open at 1:00 PM and the event goes on until 4:00 PM.
All in all, the Taste of Casa Grande is a huge party for the community, the host and the restaurants; it's a party that benefits Against Abuse, Inc. because all proceeds go directly to the Agency. Agency personnel and volunteers from the community donate their time and efforts, as do the restaurants and the hosts so there are no administrative or overhead costs. 2010 will be the 24th Annual Taste of Casa Grande and we sincerely hope you will be with us to celebrate!