A Banquet to Behold: Mercer Island Farmers Market Celebrates Successful Fundraising Dinner as It Readies for Fifth Season
It was a fundraiser. A celebration of the coming season. A thank you to the volunteers and contributors who make the market possible. And after dessert, when the last dinner guests had paid for their auction items and said their goodbyes, Julie Sarkissian could only smile, sit back and marvel at the success of the evening event. Julie is the newly-elected Chair of the Mercer Island Farmers Market Board of Directors. “Tonight I can sleep. We all worked so hard to make this happen. You worry about selling tickets, getting donations for the auction, making sure the chef and restaurant have everything they need from us. And everything worked out wonderfully well. The dinner and auction were a great success.”
One hundred supporters and guests attended the Market’s third Annual Celebration Dinner and Silent Auction at Lilly’s Restaurant at Aljoya Sunday, May 20. Chef Nathan Zielske prepared a sumptuous feast, showcasing products donated from the Market vendors, Aljoya and the creative talents of his Lilly’s kitchen. Flower and herb-crusted salmon on green tea soba noodle salad; chicken breast baked with pistachio breadcrumb and Frangelico sauce, kale Caesar salad…yumm!
The silent auction before dinner drew spirited bidding, particularly for a number of showcase items. The celebrity item had to have been the week’s stay in an Oahu condo overlooking the ocean. Other showcase items, lovingly donated by local residents and merchants, included a homemade quilt, dinners at Roanoke Inn, John Howie Steaks and Dahlia Lounge, catering by Stopsky’s, tickets for the Mariners and Seattle Philharmonic, product potpourri from All The Best and Trader Joe’s, services from Uyeta Landscaping, to name a few.
“So much bidding enthusiasm”, pronounced Carol Branom, Market Board Treasurer. “So many appealing items were donated. We exceeded our fundraising goal! This is a great start for the season!”
Dinner guests included: State Representative Marcie Maxwell, a dedicate Market patron; King County Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, and Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett, whose wife Nannette is a Farmers Market Board Member.
This was the first public event of the Mercer Island Farmers Market for Patty Spahr, the new Market Manager. “I am very excited to be working with these people”, she said, referring to the Board. “So much energy and enthusiasm. Now we turn our attention full time to Opening Day of the Market itself. We have been planning and preparing for seven months. Now our energy levels kick into high gear.”
Twenty-three vendors are returning from last year’s market and are being joined by 20 new vendors.
“We think our patrons will be very pleased with our product mix and with the quality of our vendors”, says Kari Fisher, Vice Chair of the Market Board. “We survey our patrons and track what works or doesn’t work. We attend ‘Marketing the Market’ seminars. We want this to be our best season yet.”
The fifth season of the Mercer Island Farmers Market begins Sunday, June 10. Market hours are 10am–3pm. The Market is located near Mercerdale Park on 77th Avenue South and SE 32nd Street. It will be there every Sunday through October 14, with the exceptions of July 15 and August 5. For more information, go to the Mercer Island Farmers Market web site: http://www.mifarmersmarket.org.