Tastebuds: A Feast For the Flowers

While wandering downtown, one cannot help but delight in the bountiful flowers that frame the streets, hibiscus, marigolds and petunias, just a few of the botanical varieties that command our attention. As they wave gracefully in the wind, their vibrant color and fresh fragrance add their own dimension to our well-manicured city.

So just where do all of those flowers come from and how do they stay so well maintained? The answer to that question in a single word is---Tastebuds.

Tastebuds is an annual event organized by the Annapolis Business Association to provide funding for all of the hanging baskets and flower pots along Main Street, Maryland Avenue, Church Circle and Duke of Gloucester Street. "It's the largest fundraiser held by the ABA," says Rusty Romo, president of the Annapolis Business Association. "We receive no outside funding for the flowers and their maintenance which, including Christmas decorations, costs about $70,000 a year. The flowers are supplied by Homestead Gardens, and the entire expense is covered through fundraising efforts, dues and private contributions from business owners."

According to Romo, "Homestead Gardens takes good care of us." And their responsibility does not just include selecting, providing and planting the blooms that we all enjoy. They also manage the daily upkeep and TLC that keeps the flowers so robust and aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, the Tastebuds program fills our downtown with cheer for Yuletide by arranging for the magnificent Christmas tree at City Dock, as well as all of the lights and decorations that dazzle the city during the holiday season.

This year, the 5th annual Tastebuds will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Loews Annapolis Hotel on West Street. It is "a culinary and cultural fundraiser for the beautification of downtown Annapolis" and, as Romo describes it, "Tastebuds is the best cocktail party ever." More than 25 local restaurants provide food for the evening, while beverages are compliments of Mill's Wine and Spirits.

"It is basically a private 'Taste of Annapolis,'" says Jim Hobson, owner of Hobson's Choice on Maryland Avenue. This year Jim and wife Bobbi are co-chairmen of Tastebuds. When asked how long it takes to plan the fiesta, Hobson responds, "We started planning back in January and held meetings with the Tastebuds committee. Then we gradually increased the meetings to every other week."

Spectacular food and tasty beverages are not the only featured items for the evening. On a musical note, Meg Murray, Brian Ewald and High Tide will provide the night's entertainment and there will also be silent auctions and raffles.

For all the travel enthusiasts, there's something for you, too. "We are also raffling off a trip to Paris," says Hobson. "We sell only a limited number of raffle tickets, so the odds are really good."

That old familiar Annapolis generosity plays a large role in the success of this fundraiser. "Almost everything for this event is donated," Hobson says. "The food, refreshments and decorations are all gifted from local business owners. Homestead Gardens provides the floral decorations and, if all goes as planned, the ladies will receive a flower upon arrival. It's truly a big event and everyone has a great time."

Only 500 tickets are sold for Tastebuds and you can receive more information by contacting Jim or Bobbi Hobson at 410-280-2206 or by visiting them at their store, Hobson's Choice on Maryland Avenue.


What event in the Annapolis area are you most looking forward to in 2006?

Powerboat Show
Sailboat Show
Renaissance Festival
Seafood Festival
County Fair

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