The Nashville LGBT Chamber welcomed a sell-out crowd of 345 guests to sample food and drink from 24 vendors at its seventh annual fundraiser TASTE, on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
For the fourth year, guests looked out over Nashville’s skyline, with rainbow colors seen on two iconic structures, the Gateway Bridge and City Hall. The Titans Stadium scoreboards were also lit with the Chamber and TASTE logos, welcoming guests to the stadium. Guests were invited to enter the stadium seats on the club level and take group pictures and selfies with the scoreboards lit behind them.
Joe Woolley, CEO of the LGBT Chamber said, “I will never forget the feeling I had when I walked out and saw the scoreboards lit up, it gave me chills. The Chamber has come so far in its twenty years, and this just seems like another level. The Chamber’s new logo, created by Noelle Grimes of DVL Seigenthaler, proudly and prominently features the colors of the LGBT rainbow flag. I wonder if our founders ever thought we would be here? And as we say with our 20th Anniversary motto, ‘We are just getting started!’
The silent and live auction generated over $22,000 in support for the LGBT Chamber Foundation’s mission to provide educational resources and opportunities for LGBT professionals and business owners.
Judges for the event this year included sponsors and community partners of the Chamber. “Being a judge for taste is a lot of fun, and I really wanted to use those positions to say thanks. Thanks to the sponsors that give so generously to make the event happen. And this year I wanted to thank our incredible community partners that we work so great with on a number of different issues to make the city better on multiple fronts.” Woolley said.
Sponsors were Nissan, Dell, Waller, MediCopy, and Comcast. Community ally partners were Metro Business Assistance Office, Mayors Office, Nashville Area Chamber, Convention and Visitors Corporation, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Conexión Américas, and the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber. LGBT community partners included Tennessee Equality Project, Human Rights Campaign, Nashville Pride and Out & About Nashville.
Judges scored 24 vendors who competed in eight award categories. Winners of the coveted awards were:
- Best Food Presentation – SomruS
- Best Booth Decor – A Catered Affair (second year in a row)
- Best Beer – Music City Light
- Best Cocktail – Jeptha Creed Distillery, “Blue Lemonade”
- Best Appetizer – The Mockingbird, “Don’t Worry Brie Happy” grilled cheese
- Best Dessert – Jeni’s Ice Cream, “Frosé the Sorbet”
- Best Entree – Chaatable, “Beef Shank Stew”
- People’s Choice – The Mockingbird (second year in a row)
The silent and live auctions for the event grows every year. This year, over 100 items were available ranging from gift certificates from TASTE vendors and local members to art and merchandise from community supporters. Auction highlights were a ride on the Zamboni for Predators Pride night, Breakfast with Mayor Briley, a Dell Laptop, and a week stay in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic that was donated by Ron Sanford to the top two bidders. A record $22,000 was raised from both auctions.
“I am so proud of the amazing growth of the event this year,” said Woolley. “Nashville has a plenty of food tasting events, but vendors and guests continue to tell us TASTE is one of their favorites. We have benefitted from the right combination of venue, leadership, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, marketing, and purpose. People support this event because they are inspired to support the LGBT community, and it has resulted in one of the best tasting events in Nashville. It will be hard to top this one but we look forward to a larger and more successful TASTE in 2019.”
Or read about last year’s TASTE here.