Despite the cooler temperatures, Gainesville citizens warmed up Saturday night with full plates at the Taste of Gainesville at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue.
Ann Marie Hynes, a Lake Lanier Rowing Club board member and the event’s organizer, said the event brought out around 500 people, an increase from the usual crowd at previous events.
“It’s wonderful considering it’s so cold tonight in Georgia,” Hynes said.
A group of 26 different restaurants served up plates starting at 6 p.m., with each patron getting a full belly for $25 a plate. Proceeds fund the rowing club and the often expensive equipment required for the sport.
“Some of these boats cost as much as cars,” youth program coach Brian Ransom said.
Among the vendors and patrons were members of the high school team of the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, who volunteered as waiters and helpers for the event.
“They’ve been doing a lot of work for it,” Ransom said.
One of the largest recent additions to the program was a Hudson quad, a four-person vessel, with a price tag of $20,000. Since joining in 1998, Hynes said events like Taste of Gainesville are paramount to providing new equipment.
“We try to keep the kids current and give them a chance to compete,” she said. “It keeps them focused.”
In Hynes’ 16 years, the club has added four quads to its fleet. Funds this year, Ransom said, likely will help the upkeep of the program and its facilities.
“We’re looking to purchase new oars. We’re always doing repairs. The venue itself is undergoing a lot of renovations,” Ransom said.
Sampling for the first time, Edna Payne joined her son, Roger Brown, and her granddaughter, Lexie Brown, at the Taste of Gainesville. With an array of cuisines nestled on her plate, Payne said she enjoyed a little bit of it all.
“I’m just trying to sample a little bit of everything before I get too full,” Payne said.