Society column: Taste of Carmel event a huge success


The Taste of Carmel fundraiser event on March 6 that benefitted Orchard Park Elementary School boasted over 1,000 attendees at Ritz Charles.

According to Jenn Penix, co-chair of the event and president of the PTO, the popular fundraiser met its goal of $20,000, all of which benefits students by enabling the PTO to buy the desired mobile technology device lab. This will allow students to access educational information in a variety of ways and empower them to be 21st century learners.

All funds came from sponsorship, ticket sales, auctions and raffles. The Bling Ring auction was a notable success, bringing in $5,000, with the help of the effervescent Jeff Worrell as auctioneer and emcee.

Student artwork was also popular, bringing in $1,500 collectively. Other fun items included such things as first row seats at fifth grade graduation, a ride in the fire truck to school and a Yamaha piano keyboard.

Ann Bernard, co-chair of the event and OPE treasurer, with Cindy Davis of the Carmel Rotary, volunteered as ticket takers at the door. Maria and Bill Gottlieb of Carmel enjoyed perusing the many food and wine tables. Erin Patterson, whose children attend Orchard Park and her friend, Susie Harless, an alumnus of Orchard Park, persistently bid on their favorite auction items. Susie Sommer and Jenny Fuller, mothers of children in other Carmel Clay schools, were there to offer support.

Additional volunteer planning support was graciously provided by: Susanna Williams, Jennifer Brosius, Lisa Wilson, Kate Lawson, Natalie Bellotti, Angi Walker, Kelly McDole, Holley Rubenstein and Melinda Miller.

According to Penix, the Taste of Carmel was started 11 years ago by the Orchard Park PTO as a way to involve the Carmel Community in raising support and funds for this unique school.

Penix said that the school is the only Carmel Clay school located completely within a neighborhood. Because Orchard Park does not have the volunteer base or economic support of other schools, they turn to the community for additional finances and volunteer support.

Thursday night, the community responded in a big way.

For information regarding donations to Orchard Park Elementary, contact Penix at


Tonya Burton is the Current’s social scene columnist. You may contact her at


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