Upon entering the cafeteria, the smells of chicken, pizza and wings filled the air. These smells are sponsored by the many restaurants in town that volunteered to cater the Taste of Okemos event at Okemos High School for the Okemos Choir.
On Oct. 12, around 16 booths were lined up around the cafeteria. In the middle there were decorated tables where people can sit. After buying your ticket at the door you get handed a ticket with the vendors names on it. This list also dubs as a checklist so once you get food from a stand, it gets checked off. This way everyone gets to try everything available.
Each year the Okemos High School Choirs hosts this event to fundraise for their choir program. At last year’s event the choir raised around $6,000, said Melinda Schultz, the president of the Okemos Choir Boosters.
“We usually try to aim to raise between $5 and $7 thousand during the event,” Schultz said.
Fundraising is a big factor for the OHS choir. They use this money to do extra things that don’t fit into the school budget.
“We use the money to sign up for festivals, for student scholarships, camps, equipment and licensing for songs,” said Schultz. “We recently used some of the money from fundraising for new choir vests.”
They do not know yet how much money was raised from this years event but Melinda Schultz said they don’t worry about how much money is being raised as long as people have a good time.
People attending this event are typically people in the community and parents with students at the high school. Choir parent Davis Coye has been coming to this fundraising event for the last three years.
“The variety of food is great,” said Getting the chance to sample a bunch of different foods is really different.”
In order to get the students involved and to help out the employees serving, each booth that the restaurants are stationed at is given two student helpers. Freshman Libbie Williams joined the choir this year, so it is her first time working Taste of Okemos.
“It is a good event to get people together and show them what it’s like to be apart of this community,” said Williams.
All of the vendors that attend this event volunteer their food and their time. All of the profits that are made from ticket sales go straight to the choir. Each year, the vice president of the Okemos Choir Boosters Michelle Smith contacts about 50 local restaurants asking if they would be willing to volunteer to serve their food at this event. Melinda Schultz said that only about 17 respond with a yes.
“We have several vendors that come back every year,” said Schultz. “Their support for us is amazing.”