The Middletown Church in Louisville, Kentucky, held its first Vegetarian Taste Fest on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Such an event is a big undertaking for a church the size of Middletown, but more than 35 volunteers rallied to the cause. Each of the 20 cooks was asked to submit two of their best vegetarian recipes. The final selection of recipes was then based upon achieving a variety of dishes, from pasta and entrees to salads and desserts.
All guests had the opportunity to sample more than 20 vegetarian dishes, and received a small cookbook containing all of the recipes. Samples were served in two-ounce cups, labeled with the number of the recipe in the book, which made it easier for guests to mark recipes they wanted to make themselves.
The biggest challenge was getting the word out so people would want to attend. Since the budget was limited, it was necessary to find ways to promote the event that was cost-free. Eye-catching flyers were designed and distributed to libraries and local health food stores, in addition to being mailed to the church’s interest and inactive members’ list. The event was approved to be posted on the official City of Louisville events website. Of course, church members were encouraged to tell their friends and family about the event, passing along flyers inserted into the bulletins for several weeks. The question was, would it be enough for the event to be a success?
During the weeks before the event, registrations on the church website slowly came in. Two sessions of 40 guests each were scheduled, and the members prayed that God would fill them. In the last few days before the event, God moved in amazing ways for the event to receive complimentary coverage on a Christian radio station in the Louisville Weekender in the main Louisville newspaper, and finally, a spot on live TV news the morning of the event.
Excitement was high and all was in readiness — the fellowship hall was tastefully decorated, and the food was ready. Guests entered through the church lobby where they registered, and then were seated to wait for the doors to open. When the top of the hour arrived, each guest was given a tray to collect samples of mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan dishes — Spinach (Saag) Curry, Easy Burger Burrito Skillet, Red Beans & Rice, Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles), Ratatouille, Corn and Black Bean Salsa, and Vegan Carrot Cake.
Guests also received a ticket for a chance to receive one of the door prizes donated by local health food stores. At the end of the hour, the first group of guests moved into the sanctuary for a health talk on the advantages of a natural, plant-based diet with tips on how to begin. Finally, the guests passed through the Sabbath School wing where they had a chance to browse through excellent vegetarian cookbooks on display for sale. Exit surveys were traded for a pamphlet on “The 8 Secrets of a Long Life.”
God blessed with more than 96 attendees who could not rave enough about how good the food was, and how nice an event had been planned. It will be followed up with other health-related events such as Dinner with a Doctor, a monthly vegetarian cooking class, a natural remedies class, and CPR training.
Kentucky-Tennessee | June 2018