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Umbrellas abound as people gather in the rain around the entrance near the start of the three-hour Taste of OCC in Bancroft Park April 26. Photo looks across from the south side of Colorado Avenue.
Westside Pioneer photo
Reveille Kennedy of Arati Artists still manages a smile at Taste of OCC, despite the downpour and a raindrop that ruined her first painting of the day. In the background left is fellow artist Liese Chavez, another of the nine who painted during the day (and auctioned their works at the end to raise money for the park).
Westside Pioneer photo

Deluge tries, fails to dampen spirits at Taste of OCC in Bancroft

       Sometimes news articles mention when the attendance at an event does not fall off too much despite the weather.
       This was an understatement April 26 at Taste of OCC in Bancroft Park.
       Amid temperatures around 40 degrees, a deluge of rain poured down on the third annual three-hour food-and-drink sampling fundraiser for Old Colorado City improvements. Water dripped steadily off the fabric roofs over the booths. Puddles were commonplace, except where gravity allowed the creation of tiny rivers. People walked around under umbrellas and still got soaked.
       And yet the place was packed. Close to 40 vendors offered hot food and cold beverages. More than 300 tickets had been sold in advance for $30 each, and not only did most of those people show up, but numerous tickets were sold at the gate (for $35), according to Jewels Burdick, one of the organizers for the sponsoring Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF).
       Admittedly many of the attendees huddled together under the pavilion, but judging by what was being held in most people's right and left hands, they were
In a photo shot from the Bancroft Park stage, vendors can be seen getting drenched as they fight the elements while setting up tents for food and drink sampling during Taste of OCC April 26. The rain may also have contributed to the lack of attendees taking advantage of the tables that event coordinators had thoughtfully set out.
Westside Pioneer photo
venturing out from time to time to visit the sampling booths set up around the park.
       In all, Burdick said the overall net income will probably wind up in the range of $12,000 to $14,000. The previous two Taste events (in April 2013 and '14), plus a similar one in the fall of '13, netted a total of close to $30,000.
       The initial OCCF funding goal is to build an addition at the back of the Bancroft bandshell to allow handicapped-accessible public restrooms.
       Undaunted also by the rain were nine artists who followed through on pledges to paint during Taste of OCC, then auctioned their works at the end as part of the fundraiser. One of them, Reveille Kennedy, was painting a picture of a robin. But a drop of rain splashed onto the nearly finished work, ruining it. So the plucky Arati Artists watercolorist started all over again.
       The only noticeable drawback to the event schedule was the cancelling of the live band. The bandshell was too wet.
       Afterward, Burdick praised the Westside community for its “brave support” of Taste. This encompassed gratitude for numerous local business people. Many had
As the rain splatters down outside, many Taste of OCC attendees seek the shelter of the Bancroft Park pavilion April 26.
Westside Pioneer photo
planned in advance to donate edibles and drinkables - and did so - while others, responding to Burdick's appeals, made last-minute, needed contributions, such as the arched, water-resistant fabric shelters for the ticket-takers, who otherwise would have had to stand out in the rain.
       A similar sense of relieved satisfaction was expressed by Julie Fabrizio, president of the OCCF and the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, as well as Dave Van Ness, the OCCA executive director who founded the OCCF as a charitable organization two years ago with the business group's backing.
       There was really no way that Taste could have been rescheduled, Fabrizio pointed out, because of the near-impossibility of lining up everything all over again. One big problem would have been recoordinating with all the participating vendors. And the city would have wanted payment for a new park rental, insurance and liquor license, she explained.
       As for the restroom project, there is no time frame yet for construction. The project has been priced at about $185,000. With the intent of using the money it raises for matching funds, the OCCF has been exploring grants and talking to City Parks. In support of Taste, the city did waive 50 percent of the $525 park rental fee as well as the $525 cost of police services, according to City Parks officials.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 4/26/15, updated 5/1/15; Business: Events)

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