Rotary of the Abingtons: Taste of the Abingtons a community success

Rotary of the Abingtons - Eileen Christian

On Sunday evening, the ballrooms of the Ramada Inn were transformed into gala areas as people arrived for a community party at the Taste of the Abingtons. Guests could hear the piano music of Kenny McGraw even before they entered the decorated lobby, where Kenny sat at the piano and played favorite songs. Rotarians welcomed incoming guests. Each person was given a map so that favorite restaurants could be located. Our community came out on this autumn evening for a party, where music and specialty foods and beverages were given away.

The main ballrooms were set with stations for area restaurants to exhibit and give away their specialty foods. A combo band set the tone of the day with easy to listen to music. Tables and chairs surrounded the band area. People gathered with family and friends and listened to music while eating and drinking. Many restaurants come each year to assist our club and make known what they serve.

Cooper’s Seafood has been with us from the beginning. They provide their famous crab bisque. The soup is warmed in heating trays and scooped out by volunteer Rotarians Jackie and Roger Mattis and their children. I gave Jackie a break from the serving and took on that job. What fun it was to serve a delicious soup.

Another Rotarian John Petry did his usual job warming “Ingrid’s Meatballs” and serving them. This item was started at the first Taste of the Abingtons by a Rotarian who hailed from Sweden, bragging that his wife Ingrid made the best meatballs in the world. Indeed, people do come to sample that specialty.

Rotarian Christopher Calvey has been experimenting with sauces and new products in his own kitchen. He recently enlarged his avocation for cooking to bottle and sell his products in a new business, called Calvey Productions. He wore a Rotary chef hat and gave away his flavorful tastes, introducing his new line of specialty enhancements.

Sips of beer and wine were enjoyed by many. Bartolai Winery and Case Quattro Winery set up their tables with tiny glasses of fanciful beverages. Iron Hart Brewery offered tastes of beer.

Paul and Jean Manning served several ice cream products. One was a vanilla base with small chips of chocolate and a raspberry sauce throughout. Peanut butter ice cream was also popular. Mannings Farm Dairy has always been a contributor to the Taste of the Abingtons. On the table for Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, rows of light and dark chocolate candies were placed on round trays, tempting those passing by to try one or two.

The City Market and Summit Cigar shop served a portobello mushroom capped with crab and melted cheese and small sandwiches filled with ham or chicken salad.

Italian dishes by Abbiocco from Chinchilla and A Little Pizza Heaven from the Green Ridge Corners of Scranton are always enjoyed by the crowd.

Weis Markets brought a sheet cake with the one word of their store on the icing. They cut ample slices and also served sandwiches on big rolls. Gerrity’s Supermarkets, with us these 14 years, gave away their favorites with friendly smiles.

Many people stopped at the booth where Rotarian Matthew Cartwright, wearing the Rotary chef hat, was dishing out food. Some came to wish him well in his bid for reelection to the House of Representatives.

Tiny hot or mild wing bites were prepared and served by Nina’s Bites while the Glenburn Grill and Bakery had cookies and other goodies on display.

Dawn and Colleen from the Sunrise Cafe made their outstanding Manhattan clam chowder and passed out ample bowls of the hot soup. Starbucks and Perkins supported the event and Thirteen Olives showed off its wares. From the Montage Mountain, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar came. Arcaro and Genell Restaurant came from Old Forge. Constantino’s Catering and The New Cafe generously gave away their well-known food products.

The Taste of the Abingtons was chaired by Rotarians Diane Calabro and Steve Selige and has been a fundraising event for our local Rotary Club. The work of the day in setting up and cleaning up was made lighter by the efforts of Boy Scout Troop 160. We help with their projects and they help with ours. After all, sharing is what Rotary is about.

Rotary of the Abingtons

Eileen Christian

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or