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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Sixth annual event will serve tasty samples with proceeds benefitting ACS

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gayla Gentry, owner of The Cookshack and soon-to-be renamed "Park-A-Lot Cafe," double-checks an order while employees Pam Dodds and Melissa Dodds prepare food in the background. Last year The Cookshack won Best of Show during the Taste of Sikeston and Southeast Missouri event. This year's event to sample the region's finest food, drinks and products is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 3 at the Miner Convention Center.
(Leonna Heuring, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Gayla Gentry isn't revealing the sample choices of her menu she plans to offer during the upcoming Taste of Sikeston and Southeast Missouri.

"It's a secret," said the owner of The Cookshack.

However, Gentry will say what she offered during last year's event -- samplings that even earned her restaurant a Best of Show award.

"We served fish, homemade apple dumplings, homemade hush puppies and a variety of different foods," said Gentry, who said earning the award was a team effort.

Gentry said she enjoyed interacting with the event attendees as they walked from booth to booth.

"We wanted to participate in it more or less to get our food and name out there, and, of course, it was for a good cause," Gentry said, adding the restaurant drew a lot of new customers from the event.

The Cookshack is joining other restaurants, caterers and beverage vendors to provide samples of their goods for the public all while benefiting the American Cancer Society. This year's event is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. April 3 at the Miner Convention Center.

"This year we're having it on a Tuesday night instead of a Thursday because it falls right before Easter weekend," said Gayle Childs, event coordinator on behalf of Food Giant.

Promoting a good cause and providing a good time is exactly why Childs started the event six years ago, she said. Childs, who is a breast cancer survivor, pointed out in addition to providing lots of entertainment and good food, the event raised $14,000 for the American Cancer Society last year.

"We had a fantastic year, and it gets bigger and better each year," Childs said of the event.

Already confirmed as participating on April 3 in addition to The Cook Shack are: Cheers, Domino's Pizza, Elegant Edibles of Dexter, Food Giant Deli, Grecian Steak House, Susie's Bake Shoppe and Restaurant and the Boat House Wine Co. at Bloomfield along with Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Bluff City Beer, Kohlfeld Dist. and Prairie Farms Ice Cream. Others will be added to the list as they confirm their plans with Childs. Ferguson Medical Group and It Works Body Wraps are also among the vendors.

There's still room for more vendors, Childs said, adding business owners who are interested in participating in this year's event should contact her.

Food and beverages are just part of the evening. Throughout the three hours, a country and blues band from Poplar Bluff will perform.

Also other local and area businesses have thrown their support behind the event by donating items to the silent auction. According to Childs, donations range from a 46-inch television, rug cleaner valued at $600 and a YMCA membership to a mini motorcycle, a freezer full of meat and a football and helmet autographed by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

A live auction is also in the works, Childs noted, adding details haven't been finalized. Several large gift baskets will also be available, she said.

"I know the economy is tight, but tickets are $20 in advance, and there's always good food," Childs said.

Advanced tickets are $20 per person and available at all Food Giant locations in Sikeston.

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