Trying out different cultures, varieties and flavors of food is always fun, but the taste is even sweeter when it’s all for a good cause. In just under two weeks, the 31st annual Edible Extravaganza will hit the Modesto Centre Plaza, raising funds for the Center for Human Services while showcasing tastes of the region’s finest in food and drink.
The event, held every year on the first Thursday of September, features food and drinks from local restaurants, breweries, wineries, caterers and bakers and gives attendees the opportunity to sample to their heart’s content. CHS Communications and Brand Manager Jessica Irish described it as “the most anticipated party of the year.”
“It started out as just a storefront in McHenry Village, and now we fill up the Modesto Centre Plaza with over 1,200 people inside,” she said. “Then, we have three local bands outside with people dancing. It’s teeming with energy and people and food and drinks. It’s a lot of fun.”
This year, there will be over 50 vendors at Edible Extravaganza, with Turlock businesses 10 East Kitchen & Tap House/Traveling Pizza, Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Toscana’s Ristorante, JuJu Thai Cuisine and Legacy Toffee participating. Other notable vendors include Bronco Winery out of San Francisco and local favorites like Ralston’s Goat, Do Good Distillery and Frost Bakery. A Best in Show competition between the vendors will be held as well.
“It is literally an edible extravaganza,” said Irish. “You can really taste different, various items from all of these different restaurants from around the region. There’s a lot for you to taste and drink.”
CHS began hosting Edible Extravaganza 31 years ago, but the local nonprofit has served Stanislaus County for 47 through a variety of means. The center serves youth, families and individuals by providing counseling for mental health and substance abuse, and also runs two shelters: Hutton House, for homeless teens and runaways, and Pathways, a transitional living program for young adults. CHS also has academic student assistance specialists in 74 different schools throughout the county, who help youth with academic issues, and four regional Family Resource Centers run by the organization offer a one-stop shop for counseling, support groups, nutrition classes and even activities like Zumba.
In total, CHS serves around 20,000 people annually, said Irish, making funds raised at Edible Extravaganza pertinent for the county’s underprivileged.
“This money is spread throughout our various programs, and is able to help us fill in some gaps,” said Irish. “That’s why the support of the community, all the attendees, all the vendors, is so vital, because without them it would be really hard for us to provide these many services at no cost to some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Edible Extravaganza will feature a courtyard reception from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 7, with music provided byMCW Band, and doors to the main event will open to the public at 6 p.m., where food and live music from bands CallBox and Cloak and Swagger will be available until 9 p.m.
Tickets are $50 in advance or $55 at the door, and can be purchased online at www.centerforhumanservices.org/edible-extravaganza/, at the CHS Modesto office, 2000 W. Briggsmore Ave. or by calling the CHS office at 209-526-1476.