The Lions Clubs of Villa Rica, in conjunction with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, are organizing the event, which will be serving from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Mill in downtown Villa Rica.
Seventeen chain and locally owned restaurants, private caterers and bakeries were signed up to participate. Throughout the day, people will have the opportunity to purchase tickets in 41 increments to sample food.
“We’ve got a good variety,” said Mike Williamson of the Villa Rica Lions Club. “Every restaurant in Villa Rica was approached about participating and we ended up with 17 who will be there Saturday.”
Along with the official Taste of Villa Rica food sampling, there will also be a marketplace set up where vendors will be selling mostly homemade goods while entertainment is provided in the form of local karate studio demonstrations, dance studio performances, gymnastics demonstrations and musical acts throughout the day on the The Mill’s stage. There will also be a kids corner set up by Peachtree Community Church with a variety of children’s activities.
Several prizes valued at $25 or more will also be won through a raffle system entered by those who visit 17 participating downtown merchants the day of the event to receive a stamp at each one on a special map that will later be turned in at The Mill for the prize drawings.
“It takes about 45 minutes to go from the Citgo next to Don-Rich Ford and walk around to these businesses to end at Mirror of Beauty,” Williamson said.
The Golden City and Villa Rica Lions clubs will receive all the proceeds from the Taste of Villa Rica after the expenses associated with the event are subtracted. Among the programs that will benefit are the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation, the Georgia Camp for the Blind, seeing eye dogs and leader dogs, free eye clinics and scholarships for local visually impaired residents to attend the Georgia Camp for the Blind.
“The overall total will be split between the Golden City Lions Club and the Villa Rica Lions Club and then that money will go into our general fund to be designated in certain amounts for each of these causes after we know how much we’ll receive from the event,” Golden City Lions Club President Barbara Daniell said. “This will be our biggest fund-raising event of the year and we hope to make it an annual fund-raising event to benefit all of these programs.”
The Georgia Lighthouse Foundation provides eyeglasses, eye surgeries, eye exams and research for those who don’t have insurance or any other means to pay for these services. The Georgia Camp for the Blind provides the visually impaired with a brief respite to a place where everyone faces the same difficulties they do and the activities are geared toward them and their needs.
“We really don’t know how much we’ll make, but it’s a worthy cause,” Daniell said.
The first Taste of Villa Rica was held in 2010 and organized by the Downtown Development Authority, but it didn’t return last year. With no one else interested in organizing the event this year, the Lions Clubs of Villa Rica decided to take it over as a fundraiser.
“We just felt like it would be a good joint project for both the Golden City Lions Club and the Villa Rica Lions Club,” Daniell said.
Daniell explained that sponsorships this year — both monetary and with in-kind services — have been overwhelmingly supportive.
“The community and the businesses have been extremely generous with sponsorships,” she said. “We’ve got about 40 sponsors. I’ve just been blown away at the number of sponsors and how generous they’ve been, but I think they realize that it’s for a good cause.”