Chamber’s Taste of Milford event set for Nov. 19

MILFORD — Anyone looking for a charitable, but fun, night out only has to wait until the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 19, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford will hold its 14th annual Taste of Milford event, featuring over 100 auction items and more than 10 local food vendors, at The Rookery North.

“It’s going to be from 6 p.m. until the live auction is over,” said Jo Schmeiser, the chamber’s director. “We usually say from 6 p.m. to 8 or 9.”

She hopes to have about 100 people attend the event.

“The Rookery said, with their restrictions right now, they can hold up to 210 people,” Ms. Schmeiser said, so “that’s half the capacity that they’re allowed.”

She added that the event will feature the masks, hand sanitizer and other COVID-19 precautions that have become standard in 2020.

This year, Ms. Schmeiser said a chunk of the proceeds from the event will go to People’s Place, a Milford-based organization that provides a wide array of social services centered on mental health and counseling.

“We have worked with the chamber the last few years as the co-beneficiary of the Girl’s Night Out event, which is normally held in May,” said Kim Rigby, People’s Place’s communications manager.

“This year, since we had to cancel that event, they graciously asked us to step in as a co-beneficiary of this event,” she said.

Also due to the pandemic, People’s Place had to cancel its 21st annual Choral Breakfast, which Ms. Rigby said has traditionally been an important fundraiser for the organization.

She said People’s Place runs on a mix of donations from the community and government grants.

“Grants are very specific about how you spend the money,” Ms. Rigby said.
She noted that events like the Taste of Milford and other donations from the community help to make “things a little more well-rounded. We can help pay for things that may not be covered by grants.”

She added that People’s Place has experienced increased demand for some of its services in the COVID-19 era.

“COVID has really affected people in a lot of different ways,” she said. “The need for mental health counseling is greater. The need for domestic violence services is greater.”

Ms. Rigby said the Taste of Milford will be a welcome break from her work.
“It’s just an opportunity to get out and see people and have a good time,” she said.

In addition to the auction, Ms. Schmeiser said the event will feature other fun fundraising activities.

“We have a gift card surprise table,” she said. “We get gift cards donated to the event from various businesses, and then, we put the gift cards in (unmarked) bags, and all the bags are put on a table.”

Then, Ms. Schmeiser said, participants pick out a bag at random.

“It could be a gift card to a restaurant for $25, or it could be a gift card to a retailer for $50,” she said. “You just don’t know. That usually goes really quickly because people like surprises.”

All the gift cards are worth at least $25, Ms. Schmeiser said.

The event will also feature a similar “table of cheer” with bottles of alcohol.

“We wrap bottles of booze that are donated, anything from wine to bourbon, and then, it’s the same thing,” Ms. Schmeiser said. “Once you open it, you find out what you get.”

Additionally, Ms. Schmeiser said there will be an element of friendly competition between the handful of food vendors servicing the event.

“We will have a vote for best taste and then also a vote for best display,” she said. “That’s voted on by the attendees.”

Tickets to the event are available now.

Ms. Schmeiser said the best way to get them is by calling the chamber at 422-3344. They can be purchased via cash, check or credit card for $20 in advance of the event or $25 at the door if there are still spaces left.