Stacey Hanks contributed to this story–
If delicious local cuisine, exciting raffle prizes and live country music is your idea of a good time, then the 2nd annual “Taste of Citrus Heights” at the Citrus Heights Community Center was the place to be Friday night.
Seated past tables practically bending under the weight of raffle prizes, some of which were valued in the thousands of dollars, smiling volunteers from the GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club, like Ruth Artates and Valerie Lujan-Sundukos, greeted people arriving to attend the event.
Changing things up from last year’s comedy routine, the Sacramento-based country music band The Corduroys kept the energy level high and dance floor packed for the evening’s entertainment. Apart from a short presentation from a representative with the Citrus Heights Police Officers’ Association and remarks from Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost, the evening focused on fun and food — while raising funds for a Citrus Heights police program.
“We wanted this to be more like a party, with the dancing, the band, the food and the drink,” said Darla Buechner, who is president-elect of the local women’s club. “People just having fun, rather than having speeches and all that other stuff. We wanted to do something different than everybody else.”
Among the 28 food and drink vendors who participated in the event were Antojitos Locos, a new eatery in town specializing in Hispanic treats which served guests a refreshing version of a mango smoothie; The 10th Inning Tavern on Mariposa Avenue, which dished up pasta salad; and K&E Sweets and More, owned by a mother-daughter team who were serving up an English toffee from a family recipe that traced back several generations.
Draped with raffle tickets around his neck, prize winner and newcomer to Citrus Heights Matt Martinez and his wife Jessica were among attendees of the evening’s event. “We just love it, this evening has been so fun,” Martinez enthusiastically replied when asked about the event’s festivities.
Supervisor Frost, who lives in Citrus Heights and represents the area at the county level, called the event “another home run” for the women’s club and said it was “inspiring to see hundreds of community members gather in support of our Citrus Heights police to fund important training for officers and their families.”
The annual event was organized by the local chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs as a way to raise funds for a day-long wellness training for Citrus Heights police officers, as well as purchase police Honor Guard uniform accessories and fund other women’s club programs, Buechner told The Sentinel. She said this year’s event had more than 300 attendees, which she called a great turnout — although noting it was shy of the target of 400 attendees.
Buechner said the women’s club is already looking forward to next year’s event, announcing the date of April 26, 2019, on the group’s Facebook page.
“It’ll be the fourth Friday (of April) for as long as we can do it — hopefully for a long, long time.”