Taste of the ‘Ville promotes community, women’s higher education

Patsy and Bob Brandt serve food during the Taste of the Ville in Manhattan, KS, on June 10, 2017. The event, which included 14 of the restaurants in the Aggieville Buisness District, was a fundraiser for the Philanthropic Educational Organization's scholarships. (Justin Wright | The Collegian )

The Aggieville Business Association held the sixth annual Taste of the ‘Ville event in the Aggieville Business District June 10. Purchase of tickets allowed individuals to taste special items on the menu from restaurants or businesses that participated in the event.

“I like how you can experience restaurants that you’ve never really gone to before,” Maggie Klug, Taste of the ‘Ville attendee, said. “It switches restaurants every year, so you can get different [choices of] food each year.”

With only a limited amount of tickets available, the Taste of the ‘Ville was also a fundraising event, with all proceeds donated to support higher education for women.

The event was sponsored by a local chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, PEO.

“In addition to having the tickets and getting people down here to experience Aggieville, it is also an opportunity for us to let people know about PEO and what we do,” said Mandi McKinley, member of Chapter IL of PEO.

Chapter IL is one of eight PEO chapters in Manhattan. The organization focuses on advancing women’s education through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship.

“I think [the Taste of the ‘Ville] helps get the message out about PEO and the importance of promoting women in higher education,” Elaine Shannon, Taste of the ‘Ville chair, said.

In addition to supporting state and international funds, PEO contributes funds for scholarships in Manhattan.

“There’s a lot of women at K-State, but could potentially be applicants for some of our programs,” McKinley said.

In addition to promoting PEO, Taste of the ‘Ville also provides more exposure to businesses in the Aggieville Business Association.

“Our hope is that in addition to helping us out with our fundraising, it’s also beneficial to the Aggieville restaurants,” Katy Bach, member of Chapter IL, said. “Each year, it seems like there are new restaurants, and so it’s always a good opportunity for them to have a way to sort of advertise themselves and have people coming in and trying food.”

Bach said the organization primarily focuses on women’s education, however, it has other outside opportunities for men and children.

“We also have a state of Kansas grant, where any man, woman or child can apply, but it has to be for a purpose other than education,” Bach said.

Shannon said preparations for this event are taken into consideration six months in advance.

“We visit the restaurants and encourage them to participate,” Shannon said. “We are really appreciative of all the businesses that participate and the people who have a good time and buy the ticket, and the businesses that make them do it.”

In addition to the businesses that partake in the event, Shannon said their generosity, along with their employees’, contribute toward the success for Taste of the ‘Ville.

This year, 21 businesses participated in the event, including Bluestem Bistro, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cold Stone Creamery, Dancing Ganesha, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Goodcents Deli, Insomnia Cookies, Jeff’s Pizza Shop, Kite’s Bar and Grille, PepperJax Grill, Pie Five Pizza Co., Radina’s Coffeehouse & Roastery, Starbucks, Subway, Suzette, Tanner’s Bar and Grill, The Pita Pit, Tubby’s Sports Bar, Varsity Donuts, Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill and Wingstop.

“The food was a pretty good variety [with] surprisingly large portions,” Brandon Williams, Taste of the ‘Ville attendee, said. “I kind of expected it to be a little smaller than what it was, so I felt the restaurants were pretty generous with what they were giving away.”

The Taste of the ‘Ville served as a major promotional event, providing exposure to the businesses in Aggieville and publicizing women’s higher education.

“It’s such a fun social event; you get people coming from all over and all ages,” Shannon said. “When people are eating, they are usually happy.”

The event allowed people from the Manhattan to contribute to women’s higher education while increasing engagement with their community.

“I think [Taste of the ‘Ville] gives people a lot more awareness of what kind of food [Aggieville has] at their restaurants,” Erica Brown, Taste of the ‘Ville attendee and K-State graduate student in modern languages, said. “Also, it just brings everyone together as a nice little community of restaurants working together.”