We got a taste of what Michigan Ability Partners can do while enjoying some delicious food and beer during their TasteFest 2019 annual fund-raiser.
Don’t you just love it when you walk into a good thing? It is even sweeter when that good thing turns out to be a source of inspiration and proof that there are fantastic people helping those that need a hand. This is how we felt attending Tastefest 2019.
This was our first time at Tastefest. It was fabulous. Held at the Morris Lawrence building on the campus of Washtenaw Community College, Tastefest 2019 featured over twenty restaurants and chefs. Each of them offering a spectacular cornucopia of tastes from sweet to savory. To complement all these tasty treats, Tastefest included Michigan craft brews from Grand River Brewery and Greenbush Brewing. Tastefest is Michigan Ability Partners (MAP) biggest annual fund-raising event.
You could not go wrong with any of the delectable bites available at Tastefest 2019. However, if I had to pick a few favorites, I would go with the chorizo tacos from Rappourt/Felony Provisions and the banh mi sandwiches from HOMES Brewery. Not that other dishes from the Lunch Room, The Standard Bistro & Larder, Maiz, Moveable Feast, or Hiafa Falafel weren’t equally delicious. If you weren’t full by the end of the night, it was your own fault. Which was totally my fault as I got caught up in all the excitement with the raffles and auctions.
Auctions and Raffles
There were over 94 silent auction items. There was jewelry and an ultimate tailgate party pack. You could bid on beautiful Motawi tiles or some Cherry Republic goodness. Our favorite was a beer lovers basket! This brew basket included gift certificates to HOMES, Dearborn Brewing, and River’s Edge Brewing plus a bunch of beer swag. Everyone was checking out the goodies and busy putting in bids for that special prize. We kept trolling to see if we had been outbid on the beer basket. It was an exciting addition to the evening’s festivities.
Our MC for the evening, Kelly Brown from Ann Arbor’s 107.1 got the bidding started in the live auction. The auction items were very unique with an Ann Arbor flair. This included a guided tour of Burton Tower on the University of Michigan campus, a season parking pass for UofM football, a Traverse City Winery tour, and a fall weekend at Chestnut Cove (aka Wamplers Lake in Brooklyn). The winery tour and weekend at Chestnut Cove got heated, with bids rising faster than a bottle rocket on the 4th of July.
There were some shenanigans adding a bit of humor to the live auction. Apparently someone was texting the homeowner of the Chestnut Cove. They were egging them on with some fictional add-ons to the prize package. These would-be add-ons including use of their pontoon boat, a round of beverages at Jerry’s pub, and moonlight guided walks on the beach. This lead to much laughter at Tastefest 2019.
If the silent or live auctions were not for you, then Tastefest 2019 had you covered with a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for Detroit Tiger tickets. All of these contests offered fun ways to give some love to Michigan Ability Partners. As evidenced by this gentleman that won the Tiger’s tickets, the prizes brought plenty of smiles too.
What Tastefest 2019 is All About
The honorary hosts for Tastefest 2019 David (president of Reinhart Realtors) and Louise (retired Dexter schools art teacher) Lutton. Mr. Lutton gave much deserved praise for the mission of Michigan Ability Partners. In addition, He noted their commitment toward bringing greater awareness about MAP.
That struck a chord as it seems criminal that MAP isn’t on everyone’s radar. The wonderful staff at Michigan Ability Partners have worked tirelessly for 34 years to help veterans and persons with disability find employment, housing, and financial security.
The most emotional and inspirational moment of Tastefest 2019 was when Steve talked about his experience with MAP. Steve spoke frankly about being homeless for several years and his battle with addiction. Michigan Ability Partners worked on getting Steve a home. Steve had nothing but praise and thanks for MAP. The help has given him a foundation toward self-sufficiency. Hearing from those that Michigan Ability Partners serve made Tastefest 2019 very special.
Michigan Ability Partners CEO Jan Little honored DTE Energy for their unflagging support. In 2019, DTE Energy provided lights, new faucets, and energy efficient refrigerators to all of MAP’s housing units. Kip Waddell accepted the award on behalf of DTE Energy expressing his gratitude. He encouraged everyone at Tastefest 2019 to spread the word about Michigan Ability Partners.
Music from Five More Miles
As we browsed the silent auctions and enjoyed some of the best food in Michigan, the Five More Miles jazz band kept us supplied with the perfect dinner music. Covering a number of classic jazz standards, they were just right for this night. I’m sure the great Morris Lawrence would have approved.
Now that we know about Tastefest, we are looking forward to going to the party in 2020. Tastefest 2019 allowed us to enjoy some of the best food in Michigan while supporting the vital work of Michigan Ability Partners. Thanks so much to all the volunteers including the Ann Arbor Jaycees and Community High students who made Tastefest 2019 a hit. A very special shout out to Chris Barry the development director at MAP for organizing many of the details behind the scenes.
Be sure to drop into our gallery for a bunch more pictures from Tastefest 2019.
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