STEUBENVILLE - One lucky patron attending the upcoming 18th-annual Taste of the County sponsored by the United Way of Jefferson County will go home with a diamond ring valued at $4,500.
The 18-karat gold diamond ring donated by Chip and Chris Warren, owners of Discovery Jewelers at 808 Cadiz Road, Wintersville, will be among high-ticket items up for grabs in a treasure chest that's a new attraction at the Taste of the County, which will be held Tuesday at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for "Dining and Diamonds," the theme of this year's fundraiser that will combine "a unique culinary experience" enabling patrons to sample the specialties of 14 area restaurants and caterers and the chance to win a variety of prizes.
READY FOR ‘DINING AND DIAMONDS’ — The 18th-annual Taste of the County to benefit the United Way of Jefferson County will include a treasure chest of items, including a $4,500 diamond ring donated by Chip and Chris Warren of Discovery Jewelers of Wintersville. The fundraiser featuring 14 restaurants, bakeries and caterers offering “fine cuisine and delectable desserts” will be held Tuesday at St. Florian Hall, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Admission tickets are $30 and available by calling the United Way office at (740) 284-9000. On hand for the ring presentation Tuesday were, seated, from left, Jodi Scheetz, event chair; and Chip Warren, owner of Discovery Jewelers; and standing, Shari McGee, ALIVE Shelter; Anita Jackson, United Way board member; Chrissy Taylor, event committee member; Anthony Mougianis, United Way campaign chair; Chris Warren, owner of Discovery Jewelers; Ame Taggart, interim director of the United Way; and Jodi Goff, United Way administrative assistant. - Janice Kiaski
But, more important, according to Jodi Scheetz, event chair, is that local money raised is money that helps local residents in need.
"This is our biggest fundraiser," Scheetz said. "It helps give toward the campaign to help the 18 member agencies in raising the goal for the United Way, so we're just hoping to have a real strong push and make a lot of money," Sheetz said.
Tickets are $30 per person with $20 tax-deductible. They can be purchased by calling the United Way office at (740) 284-9000.
A cash bar will be available.
An evening of "fine cuisine and delectable desserts," organizers said, comes courtesy of the following participating restaurants, bakeries and caterers from which patrons can enjoy samples:
A Touch of Elegance Bakery.
Froehlich's Classic Corner.
Piergallini's Catering/St. Florian Hall.
The Ville Restaurant.
Zalenski's Eatery and Pub.
The People's Choice Award will be up for bragging rights for the restaurant best epitomizing the theme "Dining and Diamonds." Patrons will have a chance to vote on their favorite one with the winner announced at the end of the evening and receiving a trophy.
Patrons also can purchase $10 chances for a gift card tree featuring a variety of gift certificates and $10 for mystery gift bags.
Keys for the treasure chest are $20 each or six for $100, according to Ame Taggart, interim director of the United Way of Jefferson County. The treasure chest is replacing the art auction held in years past.
"We'll be selling keys for the chest, and if your key opens up the chest, then you get to reach in and grab one of the grab bags out of there," Scheetz said.
"Our treasure chest will be filled with other jewelry items. We have some beautiful jewelry to give away," said Taggart, anticipating that Taste of the County will be "an exquisite night of dining and diamonds." The treasure chest will include pendants and bracelets but other items as well, including a framed Barnhouse print, an overnight stay for two at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, an overnight stay with breakfast at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and an autographed Browns football.
As for the Kate McCullar designed ring donated by the Warrens, it's three-quarter karat total weight in diamonds with a larger center stone, oval cut with pove set diamonds around the center and down the sides.
Of his donation to help the United Way, Warren said, "Basically they spread the love you might as well say. They distribute to all the local charities and help out every one that they can, and it's wonderful. As a business person you get calls constantly as far as worthwhile charities and events and everything, and the United Way is kind of a one-shot deal. They spread the love I guess is the best way to say it," Chip Warren said.
"We've had this in stock, and we've had countless people really love the ring, and I even have one lady whenever she found out it was donated to the United Way, she's going to make sure she buys plenty of tickets because she wants the ring," he added.
The donation makes United Way campaign Chairman Anthony Mougianis proud of the local support.
"I think it's a wonderful gesture, another example of the business people in our community, how willing they are to give back and help," Mougianis said. "As I've said at several other talks about paying it forward, I think this is a perfect example of yet another member of our community paying it forward and helping us with such a beautiful and wonderful gift," he said.
"The beauty of an event like this is that it's a nice event, but it's right after work so it's convenient to come right after work," Scheetz said. "It's a nice time for dinner, and it's reasonable, and it helps out good agencies that help the community," she said.
"We hope everyone comes out and supports the United Way," Scheetz said.
"We're very excited about this event," Mougianis said. "It is really the bricks and mortar of our success. We've always had a successful turnout, and people are so giving and really come together and help us," Mougianis said.
The Taste of the County has become one of the premiere social events in the fall for the area, according to Ross Gallabrese, president of the board of directors for the United Way of Jefferson County.
"It has turned into a great fundraiser for the United Way, and every year it seems to grow and get a little bit better. It's a great evening, people get to sample offerings from restaurants and bakeries from all over the area, and more important, they get to help the United Way, and that's what we're all about," Gallabrese said.