ORANGE PARK – The 25th annual Gourmet Night extravaganza hosted by the Rotary Club of Orange Park will have at least 30 local restaurants offering samples of their best dishes. And while the club hopes to as many as 600 people go home will full stomachs next Tuesday night, the real purpose is to fill the coffers of several local charities.
“It’s a great time to socialize, to eat some great good and to hear some great entertainment,” said Rotary’s Larry Klaybor. “And it’s all for a good cause.”
The popular event will be from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Club Continental on the shores of the St. Johns River.
Some of the restaurants that will be offering food include: Bonefish Grill, Whiteys Fish Camp, Santioni’s, The Hilltop, Your Pie, Anthony’s Catering and the Club Continental.
The Chris Thomas Band will provide the entertainment, and there will be live and silent auctions.
“This has become the biggest social event in Clay County,” said event chairwoman Pam Wolbert. “There are so many people who come to this on the third Tuesday of every April to talk with old friends they only see once a year.”
Some of the items in the live auction include: a Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar, week stays on the beaches of Kiawah Island, S.C., and Destin, An African safari and a handcrafted replica of Prince’s Signature Love Symbol guitar. Some of the offerings from the silent auction include: an autographed guitar from Molly Hatchet, a firepit for smores, a basket filled with Italian delicacies and wine and a pizza made entirely of money and lottery tickets.
Klaybor said the Rotary Club hopes to clear $30,000 to benefit local charities like: Mercy Support Services, The Salvation Army, Police Athletic League, National Association of Veterans & Family, Quigley House, Orange Park High NJROTC, Clay Humane Society, Boy Scouts of America, Food Pantry, BASCA, Orange Park Athletic Association and The Believe Foundation.
“We generally average about $30,000 every year, but we think it will be more this year,” Klaybor said. “The best thing is it’s a great time and you don’t always realize how much you’re helping. That’s what makes it so much fun.”
Tickets to Gourmet Night are $50, and they are available at the door or at Clay Today, 3513 U.S. 17 on Fleming Island.
The Rotary Club of Orange Park took over Gourmet Night eight years ago. The organization provides a unique opportunity to make a difference in the local and global community through inspired action and specific projects for doing good.