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Taste Of Downtown Burbank:

Food fest benefits YMCA

September 30, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Guests attending the Taste of Downtown Burbank on Thursday night will satiate their palates while providing financial assistance to those who can’t afford to join the YMCA.

The annual event showcases more than 30 restaurants in Burbank offering samples from their menus.

“The partnership with the city and local businesses has been tremendous,” said JC Holt, chief executive of the Burbank Community YMCA. “Everybody wins. The businesses get to display their wares, it’s a packed event, there’s entertainment and the YMCA benefits.”

The Downtown Burbank Partnership covers all the event expenses, so all the proceeds from tickets sales go to the YMCA, said Robin Faulk, marketing associate for Downtown Burbank Partnership.

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“Which is rare because, for most events, some of the admission usually goes back to expenses,” Faulk said. “But that’s not how we do it. The YMCA receives 100% of the ticket sales.”

The event raises about $30,000 a year, he added, with funds going to financial assistance for youth, teams and families that can’t afford YMCA membership fees.

“We try not to turn anyone away for lack of funds,” Holt said.

Some of the programs offered include youth sports, like the Junior Lakers basketball program, child care for preschool-aged children and students from elementary through middle school, he said.

Another very popular program is the summer day camps, he said.

“We had 1,700 youths enrolled in summer day camp this year, and 30% received some type of financial assistance,” Holt said. “We also offer youth fitness, a gymnasium, gymnastics and swim lessons at the YMCA.”

This year’s Taste of Downtown Burbank will include restaurants that have opened recently, Faulk said.

“Downtown Burbank has seen a lot of growth this year and opened some great new restaurants, four of which will be sampling their wares at the Taste of Downtown Burbank, from chicken wings by Buffalo Wild Wings to crepes at the Crepe Maker.”

The event has drawn interest from businesses in Northern California, Faulk added, but organizers want to keep it strictly for businesses in town.

“The event is representative of the best that’s available in Burbank,” he said.

Several restaurants that have been in Burbank for a while are joining this year, Faulk said, including Daphne’s Greek Cafe that is in the Empire Center and Kids Castle, which offers food in addition to games, activities and rides for youngsters.

Other first-timers are P.F. Chang’s and Victorio’s Ristorante, he said.

The Beer & Wine Garden on the AMC Walkway will be offering samples of beers carried by Buffalo Wild Wings and wines featured at Picanha Churrascaria.

Holiday Inn and Downtown Burbank Residence Inn by Marriott are offering “Dine and Unwind” packages. For a special price, a couple receives a one-night stay, two tickets for the Taste of Downtown Burbank and a complimentary one-hour Swedish massage at Ra Organic Spa for Thursday night.

“It’s to make it a more elegant experience where people can come take part in the food and wine and have a massage and spend the night in Downtown Burbank and take it easy,” Faulk said.


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