Taste of Shelby County 2020: What buying a ‘Golden Ticket’ means

Although the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation’s annual Taste of Shelby County fundraiser will not feature an in-person format this year, ticketholders will have access to deals from a top-notch lineup of local restaurants, food trucks, wineries and breweries—and will know their support is simultaneously benefiting schools.

Those who purchase a Taste of Shelby County 2020 Golden Ticket for $25 may present it at the designated Places to Taste between Oct. 15-31 and receive special offers, such as $5 off an order or 20 percent off an order.

The Places to Taste list currently includes: Ashley Mac’s, Cat-n-Bird Winery, Eat At Panoptic, Refined to Go, Baba Java Coffee, Corbin Farms Winery, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, Cajun Boys & Our Poboys, Taco Mama, The Anvil Pub & Grill, Bellinis Ristorante, Bertolone’s Italian and Simply Infused Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Room.

Shelby County Schools Education Foundation Director Kendall Williams said the process of re-evaluating the event through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic started in March.

“We reached out to our Taste of Shelby County venue to look at a new date in February 2021,” Williams said. “Initially, it was out of respect for our food and beverage vendors. We knew they were facing very difficult times with the shutdown and were not certain they would be in a place to be able to provide 300 free samples as they have in the past.

“However, we are still unsure what February will look like,” she continued. “Will people be allowed or even want to gather in a single place together? We have had over 400 people attend Taste of Shelby County the past few years, so it was a risk we are still unsure about.”

Williams and her team kept their focus on how the organization could still support schools, help local businesses and provide value for ticket purchasers.

“One of my board members suggested the ‘Golden Ticket’ idea, where ticket holders would be able to benefit from all the offers for a certain amount of time,” Williams said. “We surveyed our past vendors and other local places we thought may be interested in being included on the Places to Taste list. From there, our Taste of Shelby County Golden Ticket was born.”

Matt Corbin with Corbin Farms Winery in Calera said the winery is thrilled to be participating in Taste of Shelby County again this year.

“Although a new format, we are still able to promote local businesses and support our school system,” Corbin said. “We love that it is mutually beneficial. It allows us to promote our business and bring in customers, while fundraising for the schools at the same time. We will be offering 20 percent off food and/or wine.”

Moving to the new format minimized costs, allowing essentially all ticket sales to go toward helping the foundation fund its grants at three levels: student, teacher and principal/school.

“While we would be thrilled to continue to fund what we have the past couple years through this event, we know that may not be possible,” Williams said. “One major aspect that is missing from our normal Taste of Shelby County is our silent auction. With ticket sales alone, we would love to be able to fund $10,000 in grants for our schools.”

Tickets can be purchased through Oct. 31, but those who want to participate are urged to purchase them earlier to have more time to visit the Places to Taste and take advantage of the deals, Williams said.

Visit Tasteofshelbycounty.com for more information, to view the offers and to purchase tickets.