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Ninth edition of TasteFest to raise money for hospital and East China schools

The School House Grill on Harsens Island returns to TasteFest on Sept. 30. - Jim Bloch

Event is set for Sept. 30, 5-7:30 p.m. at Ascension River District

By Jim Bloch

You have to eat and drink, so why not do it in high style for two good causes?

That’s the premise behind the ninth edition of TasteFest at Ascension River District Hospital in East China Township, Monday, Sept. 30, 5-7:30 p.m.

More than a dozen local eateries will fill eight-foot tables with samples of their specialties.

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The Big River BBQ’s smoked treats will be one of the favorite stops at TasteFest this year. – Jim Bloch

Confirmed participants include the Inn on Water Street, School House Grill, Solitude Links Golf Club, the kitchen at ARDH, Big River BBQ, Murphy Inn and the Dorsey House, the Voyageur, the Sweet Tooth, the Galley at St. Clair County Community Mental Health, Anchor Pointe Bistro and Moretz Catering.

“Another four to six establishments may yet commit to participate,” said chair Cindy Kreutzer, the nursing administrative assistant at the hospital.

Turn-outs have been strong the past two years.

“Our goal is to have 150 people,” said Kreutzer.

The food establishments will be competing for six awards: Best of Show, Best Appetizer, Best Entree, Best Dessert, Best Display and People’s Choice.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Hope Fund at the hospital and the East China Educational Foundation, managed by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.

The Hope Fund at the hospital benefits patients in need.

“We had a patient who needed a daily IV of antibiotics, but did not have a way to get to the hospital — we paid for the transportation,” said Kreutzer. “If a patient can’t afford a short term medication, we pay for that. Or maybe they need a ride home from the hospital, we pay for that.”

“The East China Educational Fund invests in the future of children in the school district,” said Kreutzer.

Murphy Inn and its sister restaurant The Dorsey House will have a table at TasteFest 2019. – Jim Bloch

“We take the interest from the principal and give it back to teachers in grants of $750 for things they need that aren’t covered in the school budget,” said Paul Dingeman, who runs the community television station, CTV-Channel Six. “We give out $6,000-7,000 in the fall and again in the spring.”

The grant requests range from musical instruments such as a guitar, drum kit or ukulele to special classroom furniture to art supplies.

Tickets are $30 and are available at the Sweet Tooth in Marine City, Nieman’s Family Market in St. Clair and the hospital gift shop, 4100 River Road, East China. Tickets are also available at the door.

Ticketholders are entitled to two complementary glasses of wine and additional glasses may be purchased for a donation.

The PTOs from the school district assemble themed gift baskets, which will be raffled.

“They’re really nice,” said Kreutzer.

The tasting will be held in the lobby and contiguous hallways of the hospital.

“The whole event is really nice,” said Dingeman.


Jim Bloch is an award-winning freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. He writes about the environment, local politics, art, music, history and culture. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com.

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