Behind the Scenes of Taste of West


Maret Welby

Biting into a lemon bar, Junior Julia Patterson enjoys the food and her friends at Taste of West. “I love going to Taste of West. I look forward to it every year,” said Patterson.

Tired and hungry after Cross Country practice, sophomore Natalie Rath joined her friends, sophomores Jamie Poppen, Molly Thomas and Sarah Kannenberg at Taste of West to chow down on samples from local food joints. Upon entering the Main Gym, the group was met with the bustle of people and the hum of conversation. Making their way around the gym, Rath and her friends took as many samples as their trays could hold before sitting down and enjoying a variety of cuisines offered at the 7th Annual Taste of West.

“This year, 19 vendors attended Taste of West,” Kathy Dodge, Committee Chair of the West Parent Organization, said.

The vendors ranged from Schnucks to Occasional Cakes, each sharing samples with the crowd.

“I really liked how Occasional Cakes gave us mini vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with three sides of icing to ice our own cupcakes,” sophomore Kristen Baranski said.

For $10, attendees receive a necklace allowing them to visit every station. As they made their way around the gym with a tray, guests choose their samples. After receiving a sample, the attendee’s necklaces was marked to help keep track of where they had and had not visited.

“Our maximum capacity was 700 and we sold out,” Dodge said.

In order to keep everything running smoothly, the WPO recruited help from outside sources.

“We used over one hundred parent and student volunteers. The students were invited to volunteer through announcements and various clubs,” Dodge said.

Preparations began in the spring, once the WPO knew the date of Homecoming.

“We start inviting restaurants and collecting prizes for the Parade of Prize right away,” Dodge said.

The WPO brought in five new restaurants: Bishop’s Post, Schnucks, Chick fil A, Missouri Shark Fisherman’s BBQ and Papa Bear Popcorn.

“The money raised by Taste of West helps to fund the Senior Graduation party,” Dodge said.

Taste of West netted a profit of over $8 thousand.

“Taste of West made about $6,882, but we will receive a $500 donation from Kohls that will boost our total to $7,382 Parade of Prizes has made $1,068,” WPO Treasurer Laura Poppen said.

Taste of West requires not only the support of WPO, but also of the administration, custodial staff and West High student and parent volunteers.

“It is truly a community event! A few years ago there was a slogan ‘We Are One’  on West Middle t-shirts. This event proves it,” Dodge said.