Hudson -- Taste of Hudson, a non-profit organization created by the Leadership Hudson Class of 2003-04, donated $29,100 to Hudson area organizations this year, bringing the total donations over the past nine years to $267,125.
The Taste of Hudson, an annual two-day culinary, lifestyle and entertainment festival on the Labor Day weekend, attracted more than 35,000 people to Hudson's downtown.
The organizing committee of Taste of Hudson uses the event to promote economic development in downtown Hudson and showcase the community to the guests who visit the event.
Money raised from the 2013 festival was presented as grants Oct. 10 to 13 different organizations by Taste of Hudson Executive Director Andy Malitz and board of directors member Ed Sogan.
"The generosity of all of our participating organizations is paramount to our success and provides us the ability to produce a festival which raises money for so many deserving organizations," Malitz said.
Taste of Hudson Board of Directors President Darin Siley said, "The 'Taste' is ultimately an event where the community supports and invests in itself. We should all be proud of the event's success and the ongoing impact proceeds granted to local organizations continue to have."
Mayor William Currin said the Taste of Hudson was a premiere event for the city and the result of a lot of collaboration from everyone in Hudson.
"They roll up their sleeves and work feverishly and see the value of proceeds going to very important charities," Currin said.
Currin accepted a check for Pride of Place to create DVDs and increase pride in Hudson.
TOH board member Michael Freedman, owner of Hershey's of Hudson, said the festival improves each year and is an "incredible team effort." He accepted a check for the Merchants of Hudson for marketing and developing its website.
Event Coordinator Debra Sherman accepted a check to redevelop the website for Destination Hudson, which promotes local events and attracts visitor to Hudson.
Kathy Cybulski, member of Leadership Hudson Class of 2008-09, accepted a check for Jr. Leadership Hudson, which teaches Hudson High School and Western Reserve Academy students about leadership.
Council member Keith Smith, member of Leadership Hudson Class of 2010-11, accepted for Screen on the Green, which shows outdoor movies for free.
Jennifer McKinley accepted a check for Hudson Community Service Food Pantry to help feed 40 families in Hudson.
Laura Gasbarro accepted a check for Hudson Community First to help kids make better decisions.
Jill Centrello, member of Leadership Hudson Class of 2010-11, accepted a check for Leadership Hudson, which teaches adults about leadership and creating a project to benefit the community.
Angie Lewis accepted a check for the Athletics Booster Club to help provide equipment for the middle and high schools.
Hudson library Director Leslie Polott accepted for the Hudson Library and Historical Society to purchase preschool books.
Hudson High School Principal Brian Wilch accepted a check for a $1,000 scholarship for a student studying for a culinary/hospitality career and $2,500 check for the Hudson Memorial Stadium, which will be matched by Tom Murdough.
Special Projects Coordinator Joni Fitch of the Akron Children's Hospital Foundation and Director of Community Benefits Heather Wuensch accepted for the Akron Children's Hospital Safe Kids Coalition of Summit County, the festival's primary beneficiary, to purchase and donate safety items to needy families such as car seats and bike helmets.
"Taste of Hudson has become one of the finest lifestyle festivals of its kind in the region," Malitz said. "The support of all of our festival sponsors, restaurants, partners, entertainers and exhibitors is incredible and their enthusiasm is the primary reason we have been able to grow the festival each year."
In addition, on behalf of Taste of Hudson Associate Sponsor The Little Tikes Co., the organization donated more than $4,100 in Little Tikes products to Habitat for Humanity of Summit County.
OPI and Cosmo Prof, both Friends of The Taste Sponsors, teamed up at Taste of Hudson, along with several Hudson and area salons, to provide manicure services for donations to the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children's Hospital. Michelle Myles and Rosie Churby presented a check for $2,200 to Dr. Stephanie Savelli.
Lisa Sabol, representing the inaugural "Race to the Taste," a project of Leadership Hudson Class of 2012-13, said the proceeds from the 5K and family fun run and walk during Taste of Hudson would be used for beautification and young initiative programs in Hudson. The race will return annually as part of Taste of Hudson.
The 10th Annual Taste of Hudson anniversary celebration is scheduled for Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2014.
For more information and photos from the 2013 Taste of Hudson, visit www.tasteofhudson.com.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing