People Helping People: Taste of Buford offers cuisine, charity

In late September, local restaurateurs are going to descend on historic Buford to participate in a festive evening of food and frolic.

Fifteen eateries with a wonderful assortment of palate-pleasing cuisines plan to participate in Hi-Hope's fourth annual Taste of Buford from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Bona Allen Tannery on Main Street.

The participating restaurants include Aqua Terra, Cabos Mex Grill, Flowery Branch Yacht Club, Grapes & Hops, Hooters of Lawrenceville, Jittery Joe's Coffee, Kani House, LongHorn Steakhouse, LowCountry Barbecue & More, Mimi's Cafe, Red Sky Cafe and Coffee House, Sweet Escapes Bakery, Ted's Montana Grill and The Pizza Pub.

They will bring enough appetizers, entrees, desserts or beverages to satisfy the culinary curiosity of 600 or more guests.

"It's a wonderful event in September when it's cool and comfortable. There is great food. All the restaurants do top-notch work in presenting and serving. They pull out all the stops," said Carisma Galleries co-owner Margaret Kolk, one of the Buford Business Alliance volunteers for the event. "It's for Hi-Hope. It's a very, very worthy cause. Everybody rallies."

Spicing up the evening will be the raffle of a 50-inch, flat-screen TV donated by Hooters of Lawrenceville and a live auction of a framed Hawaiian shirt and an acoustic guitar, both signed by Jimmy Buffett of "Cheeseburger in Paradise" fame. Radio personalities from 97.1 FM The River also will be on hand.

Artwork created by Hi-Hope's clients will be available for donations.

"Hi-Hope's art department works extra hard to help the client artists do outstanding artwork for decorations as well as to provide art to raise additional donations," said Brenda Pruitt, chairman of the event committee and a member of Hi-Hope's board of directors.

"I would like to thank the great Hi-Hope staff for helping pull this off," she adds. "Everyone at Hi-Hope works beyond the call of duty to help take orders and distribute tickets, arrange supplies and many other things to help make this a success."

Other sponsors include California Closets, Beverage SuperStore, Travis Pruitt & Associates Inc., Party City and the Gwinnett Daily Post. The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office is providing security.

Tables will be set up both inside and outside the historic tannery. Adding to the ambiance will be a strolling musician. Nearby will be the life-size sculpture of Hollywood cowboy Roy Rogers, who with his horse Trigger traveled to the tannery by private train in the late 1940s to buy a saddle. "American Made" was actually created inside the tannery by Vic McCallum, who has a studio in Tannery Row Artists Colony. Some of the studios will be open during our event.

I think Hollywood's King of Cowboys would be pleased to be a part of Hi-Hope's annual event. He and his famous wife, Dale Evans, were the parents of a little girl born with Down syndrome.

The proceeds from this year's Taste of Buford will help cover the operating expenses of our Lawrenceville center and the five group homes we operate for Gwinnett residents with developmental disabilities.

Join us for this enjoyable evening Sept. 27. Advance tickets are available through our Web site at www.hihopecenter.org. Just click on the banner at the top of the home page.

Advance tickets are $25 per person or $200 for a table for eight. At the door, the price is $30 per person. All of the food and two beverages - soft drinks, beer or wine - are included in the ticket price.

For information, call Monti Beach at 770-963-8694.

"People Helping People" is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Today's article was written by Alice B. Cunningham of the Hi-Hope Service Center.