For Kevin Kyle, what brings him to the Taste of Cole Camp isn’t strictly the food.
The event “is one of the first things that happen in the spring. It’s a chance to get out and see some people,” he said.
Kyle is owner of 4-K Cheese and Meats, and his store is among a dozen restaurants and other vendors that will participate in the annual Cole Camp Chamber of Commerce fundraiser on Monday at the Cole Camp American Legion Hall.
Judi Kerber, chairwoman of the committee putting together the event, said it is the chamber’s biggest fundraiser of each year and that local businesses participate “on behalf of the chamber because the chamber works for them all year.”
Her advice to anyone unfamiliar Taste of Cole Camp: “Come hungry.”
Joining 4-K, which will provide cheese and sausage trays, will be Calgaro’s Pizza, Casey’s, Cash’s, Charley’s Buffet, Classic Grill, Dairy Bar, Handel Haus, Past Time Bakeries, The Red Baron, Rick’s Lincoln Inn, Village Bakery and Pepsi.
“The merchants really outdo themselves” in providing an array of offerings, Kerber said, adding that proceeds from the event go into the chamber’s general fund to help pay for projects throughout the year.
But there will be more than food and a chance to catch up with neighbors. Kerber said board members for the community center effort will be on hand with building renderings on display; they also will sell raffle tickets for $10 each for a chance to win a 2011 Chevrolet HHR.
The Cole Camp Community Betterment Association will be on hand to take orders for the book “The Early Days of Benton County,” which examines life in the early days of the area from 1844 to 1950. The books will be available by early April at a cost of $20 each.
“I’ve seen the cover and it is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous,” Kerber said. “I think they will sell out before (the books) are printed.”
Kerber echoed Kyle’s comments about Taste of Cole Camp being a community gathering.
“It’s a lot of visiting, really just a lot of fun,” she said. “We are a small community that works very closely together.”