Taste of Casa Grande

The 33rd annual Taste of Casa Grande was held Sunday October 20, 2019, at Eva’s Fine Mexican. The Taste of Casa Grande is an annual fundraiser that brings together food fans and restaurants. Proceeds from the event benefit Against Abuse Inc.

CASA GRANDE — While Casa Grande’s annual foodie fundraiser, the Taste of Casa Grande, will not be held this year, Against Abuse Inc. has announced that a new event, with a similar name, different format and lower price tag, will be held in its place.

The Taste of the Taste Around Town will replace the Taste of Casa Grande this year due to concerns over the lingering COVID-19 virus.

In 2020, the Taste of Casa Grande was canceled due to the pandemic. This year, the 2021 Taste is still a food-focused fundraiser for Against Abuse, which provides services to abuse and domestic violence victims.

But unlike the Taste of Casa Grande, Taste of the Taste ticket-buyers will not gather in one place to sample treats and goodies sold by various restaurants.

Instead, they’ll have 30 days to visit the participating restaurants in person and access event specials as well as the restaurant’s full menu.

“The Taste of the Taste Around Town is a month-long fundraiser that will allow people to taste around town,” said Against Abuse Executive Director Pat Griffen. “They will help support Against Abuse and the local restaurant industry while sampling mouthwatering food ranging from Mexican, barbecue and Italian foods.”

It’s set to begin in September. Tickets to the Taste of the Taste Around Town will sell for $25 each.

So far, more than 20 restaurants have signed on to the event, but Griffen believes more will join the cause.

“Restaurants seem excited for this,” Griffen said. “They’ve been struggling since COVID. This gives them a way to participate and show themselves to the community.”

The new format gives restaurants a chance to show off their facility, their menu and their food.

“Restaurants will have specials designated for the Taste — ones they are eager to share with the community,” Griffen said. “This format is sensitive to the pandemic issues still surrounding our community and also sensitive to the intense need to continue providing domestic violence and sexual assault services.”

The need for the annual fundraiser was not diminished by COVID.

“Food and labor costs are rising but one thing that has not stopped is domestic abuse,” Griffen said. “COVID and quarantining have been very difficult for some people and since COVID, we’ve received an inordinate about of referrals.”

As well as raising money, the annual Against Abuse fundraisers also draw attention to the issue of domestic violence.

With the exception of 2020, the Taste of Casa Grande had been held every year since 1985, in October to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Griffen hopes the traditional Taste of Casa Grande event will return in 2022.

Each year, hundreds attend the Taste of Casa Grande, in which dozens of participating restaurants hand out samples of their food or beverages. Participating restaurants donate all the food to the Taste of Casa Grande.

Volunteers, including students from Casa Grande Union High School’s DECA program and students with the U.S. Border Patrol’s Explorer program, also generally help with the event.

Raffles, gift baskets and high-ticket prizes have also been featured at the Taste of Casa Grande and will return for the 2022 event. The Taste of the Taste Around Town will not include gift baskets or raffles.

Since 1981, Against Abuse Inc. has provided social and behavioral health services in Pinal County and maintains shelters in Casa Grande and Maricopa for victims of domestic abuse.

The organization also offers group and out-patient, community-based services, supervised visitation and safe exchange services, case management, sexual assault advocacy and services, animal safe homes, volunteer programs and a thrift store/clothing bank.

Tickets will be available on the Taste of Casa Grande website, tasteofcasagrande.com, or the Against Abuse website, against-abuse.org or by calling 836-1239.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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