In just two years, Toast of the Town grew from 300 people to 950 ... with a waiting list.
This year, Maxine Hudson, the chairman of the fundraising event for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, is hoping to draw 1,000-1,200.
“I think that will be the sweet spot, between 1,000 and 1,200 patrons,” Hudson said. “We have a good event. It’s not crowded.”
Toast of the Town is a wine and food event, featuring winemakers and vineyards from around the world, along with area chefs and their most popular dishes. This year, Hudson has added area distilleries, including 13th Colony in Americus.
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The fundraiser is set for 7-11 p.m. March 23 at the RiverMill Event Centre, 3715 First Ave.
Toast of the Town fits right into ArtBeat Columbus, which is March 17-April 1, and is a celebration of the arts in Columbus. ArtBeat includes fine art exhibitions, classical music events and theater productions.
Tickets are $85 until 5 p.m. March 16. Starting March 17, tickets will be $95.
Also new is the Connoisseurs Club, the VIP package, For $350, two people can go into Toast of the Town an hour earlier, get a special wine selection and have their names printed in the program. They also get to park in a reserved lot closer to RiverMill.
It’s a more intimate experience, with only 100 packages sold for the Connoisseurs Club.
“We’ve already started selling those,” said Sara Ketcham, the CSO executive director.
On top of that, March 23 is George Del Gobbo’s birthday. Del Gobbo, the symphony’s conductor and music director, is also celebrating his 25th anniversary with the orchestra.
“What a birthday present,” Hudson said. “George will be there, talking to people and thanking them for coming.”
Some of the musicians will also be at RiverMill, providing music during the evening.
Also new is the inclusion of American craft beers, made by small breweries. Lazy Magnolia, Red Brick and Terrapin will attend.
“Almost everyone who were here last year will be here,” Hudson said.
For food, Many of the restaurants, Hudson said, offer organic, fresh food.
As always, there will be a wine auction with more than 200 lots.
A regular auction will include behind-the-scene winery tours, trips and such. “This is a top-notch event,” Hudson said.
Toast of the Town
When: 7-11 p.m. Friday, March 23
Where: RiverMill Event Centre, 3715 First Avenue
Cost: $85 until March 16; $95 starting March 17
Information: 706-256-3640 and toastcolumbus.com