08/31/05 — Taste of Wayne kicks off 2005 United Way drive

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Taste of Wayne kicks off 2005 United Way drive

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 31, 2005 1:47 PM

Amid colorful balloon arches, teddy bears and model trains, Wayne County restaurants served up some of their tastiest fare at the 15th annual Taste of Wayne County Tuesday.

About 650 people attended the kickoff to United Way of Wayne County's 2005 campaign at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Officers' Club.

There was everything from pizza, barbecue ribs and Cantonese roast pork to flavored coffees, strawberry smoothies and decadent desserts.

Twenty-seven restaurants and vendors competed for various awards. Winners were Texas Steakhouse, continental cuisine; Brooklyn Pizzeria, Italian cuisine and pizza; Boondoggles, country cooking; Koi Asian Bistro, Oriental cuisine and fine dining; Chili's, desserts; Bonfire's, Mexican cuisine; Ham's Restaurant, pub appetizers; and Bojangles, breakfast cuisine.

People attending voted for their favorite restaurant. The People's Choice Award went to Texas Steakhouse.

New this year was the Best in Show Award for food presentation and decorations. Bonfire's received this award.

Chris Martin judged country cooking, pizza and Mexican cuisine. She said it was all so good that it was hard to pick a winner in each category.

"We had the easiest and most fun job here because we got to go around and eat up all the food," she said. "I think this is a wonderful way to get people in the community involved in United Way. We are here tonight to raise money for the programs that United Way supports."

Judging continental cuisine and desserts was Becky Falk. "I got to taste all the great continental like ribs and gumbo," she said. "It was hard to say what was best. It was all delicious and everybody tries so hard."

She said the Taste of Wayne is "the greatest thing ever. Everybody knows about United Way because they love the Taste of Wayne County."

Sally Worrell, vice president of marketing and communications for United Way, said she heard nothing but good comments about the event. "The people who came were not crowded and got their money's worth," she said. "And they were supporting something for a good cause.

"The vendors love competing for and winning awards."

In conjunction with the Taste of Wayne, United Way announced the results of its Frontrunners campaign. Frontrunners are businesses and groups that conduct their employee campaigns before the general campaign begins to set the pace.

The Frontrunners raised a total of $90,470 this year for a total of 20 percent of the 2005 goal of $1,425,000, according to Jane Rustin, 2005 campaign chairman.

Frontrunners and their employee campaign results were Goldsboro News-Argus, $19,809 to improve 396 lives; Cooper Standard Automotive, $52,775 to improve 1,056 lives; Moffatt Oil Co., $3,850 to improve 77 lives; Wayne County Public Library, $7,416 to improve 148 lives; Grand Rental Station, $2,890 to improve 58 lives; Wayne County Partnership for Children, $2,266 to improve 45 lives; Goldsboro Builders Supply, $5,019 to improve 100 lives; and Wayne Realty and Insurance, $2,864 to improve 57 lives.

Following the announcement of the Frontrunners' campaigns, Jimmie Ford, United Way board chairman, gave a short motivational speech.

He urged everyone to get excited about the campaign. "Walk and talk like you are excited," he said. "Get excited and stay excited. We do care, and we are getting ready to show Wayne County in the next few months that as volunteers, we care."

The name of the first of 11 finalists to win a 2005 PT Cruiser from Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep was Maria Ponce of Uchiyama America.

Drawings will be held each Saturday at the dealership starting Sept. 10. The finalists will draw for the vehicle Nov. 19.

The new United Way campaign video was also shown. It's theme is "Angels of United Way." Providing background music for the video were D.J. Coles and Tommy's Road Elementary School's choir.

The campaign will conclude the end of November. There will be a recognition luncheon Dec. 16.