By Mary O’KEEFE
“Did you get to Zeke’s yet? You need to get there.” “Have you tried that pizza at Cucina Rustica?” “And Frank’s [Famous] in the food court.” “And don’t forget Paradis!”
Those were just some of the comments heard from people with red and yellow wristbands armed only with a map and a hearty appetite as they walked around Montrose Shopping Park Sunday.
The event was the third annual Taste of Montrose. Not only did patrons pay only $20 per ticket to taste generous samples from over 20 restaurants but they did it all while supporting Prom Plus.
Prom Plus is a grassroots community based organizations that works throughout the year to raise enough money to put on one big party for Crescenta Valley High School seniors after prom. The organization was born from the tragic death of a young CVHS student who was shot and killed during an after prom party. In an effort to make certain students had a safe place to go after prom, parents and community members joined to form Prom Plus.
“A safe place is fine for parents but it has to be fun for kids to come to,” said Lisa Yeghiayan, parent member and co-chair of Taste of Montrose.
Included with the purchase of a prom ticket seniors and their guests can come to the Prom Plus party from midnight to 5 a.m. The Crescenta Cañada YMCA generously donates its facility for the event. A casino, rock climbing, a mechanical bull, bungee run and video games are some of the things the students can enjoy throughout the night. And lots of food prepared by parents.
“But this party costs money,” Yeghiayan said.
That is where the Taste of Montrose comes into play. Restaurants that want to support Prom Plus agreed to give samples of delicious items from their menu.
“If people haven’t tried a restaurant but always wanted to this is a great way for them to do it,” said Amanda Hayn, Prom Plus Club member from CVHS. “It also is a great way for them to show their support to our school.”
Hayn is part of the newly formed Prom Plus Club at
CVHS. Throughout the year they help with fundraisers and volunteer for other organizations. This was the first year the club has been active. Student members wore blue shirts with the Prom Plus logo printed on them. They answered questions and helped guide participants of the Taste of Montrose.
“All the food was so good. Edible Arrangements gave us chocolate covered strawberries and oranges,” she said. “But did you go to Montrose Candy Store or Paradis yet? You have to go.”
The event raised around $6,000 for Prom Plus. “This was our most successful Taste of Montrose. Each year it continues to grow. We are so grateful for everyone that came out to support us and especially to the restaurants that joined. Without them we couldn’t do this,” Yeghiayan said.