Taste of Bowling Green raises money for ill children

Olivia Mohr

Today from 7 to 10 p.m. at Sloan Convention Center, Dream Factory of Bowling Green will host its annual Taste of Bowling Green event to raise money to make critically and chronically ill children’s dreams come true.

There will be a silent auction featuring art baskets, family nights out and many other items from 7 to 8:45 p.m., and the band Tyrone Dunn and Kin-Foke will perform. The event will also feature door prizes and a photo booth. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. They can be bought at Service One Credit Union, Chuck’s Liquor Outlets, Balloon-A-Gram Co. or from Dream Factory board members. Etched wine glasses are included in the ticket price and will be handed out to guests as they enter.

Taste of Bowling Green features many vendors including Rafferty’s and Home Café as well as some new vendors including Purple Toad Winery out of Paducah, Roam Sandwich Company, Rockin’ Rick’s BBQ, The Night Cap, The Derby Piano and Dessert Bar, Marco’s Pizza, and Preservation Tasting Room and Bottle Shop. The event is all you can eat.

Joshua Poling, owner of Home Café, This will be Home Café’s fifth year as a vendor. Home Café offers about 800 samples of food, and they offer something different every year. This year, they will serve a Texas barbecue spread.

According to Poling, Taste of Bowling Green offers food and drinks for a great cause and “gets the whole community together for a night out of having fun and eating really good food.”

Myra Dwyer is executive secretary of ServiceOne Credit Union, co-chair of Taste of Bowling Green and is on the Dream Factory’s Board of Directors. She said she hopes people who attend Taste of Bowling Green will enjoy themselves and try new food while they remember what the event is all about.

“I hope they have a good time, and I hope they get to try foods and restaurants that they wouldn’t normally and then they’ll go to those restaurants, and help them to understand why we’re raising the money,” Dwyer said. “We’ll have posters and things out there with some of the children’s pictures, so I think a lot of the regular attendees that keep coming back do it because it is for the Dream Factory.”

Taste of Bowling Green brings in about 800 to 1,000 guests annually, and it has been going on over 25 years. It is the Dream Factory’s main fundraiser, and the money raised is usually enough to grant five to 15 dreams annually to children through the Dream Factory of Bowling Green, which is celebrating its 30th year. The Dream Factory fulfills the dreams of critically and chronically ill children ages 3 to 18, and the dreams can range from items to shopping sprees to travel. Dreams range in price and are limited to about $6,000 per child.

Dwyer explained the benefits the dreams have on the children and their families.

“It releases them from the illness a little while to help them just enjoy their life, I think,” she said. Dwyer vadded that some parents have been unable to pay for their electricity and other necessities because of their children’s medical costs, and the Dream Factory has helped relieve financial issues. 

The Dream Factory is a volunteer program. Some 90 percent of the money it raises through Taste of Bowling Green and its other fundraisers stays in Bowling Green and goes directly to the children, and 10 percent goes to the Dream Factory’s headquarters in Louisville for administrative expenses.

Nick Wilkins is a volunteer board member at the Dream Factory of Bowling Green, and he owns Balloon-A-Gram Co., a balloon and costume company. He helps find sponsors, helps with silent auction items and does the decorating at Taste of Bowling Green. He calls Taste of Bowling Green the “signature event of Bowling Green.” He said he hopes guests remember where their money is going.

“I hope they realize what their money is being spent for – not just the food and the drinks, but the fact that they’re helping out youngsters, helping us fulfill dreams for someone who is critically or chronically ill,” he said. 

“It’s one of the events of Bowling Green that you just don’t want to miss,” Wilkins said. 

Reporter Olivia Mohr can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]