ELKHART — The ingredients that make up the Taste of the Gardens are loud, spicy and colorful.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the sixth annual Taste of the Gardens fundraising event on a warm Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens. They followed the walkways around the lake, passing by white tents displaying sculptures, paintings and other works of more than 50 artists from around Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
The smell of food from 18 regional restaurants carried over the flower beds, and the thunder of an electric Blues guitar in the late afternoon broke an otherwise still, quiet atmosphere.
The Elkhart Rotary Club organizes the event every year to fund the garden’s upkeep and future projects, said event chairman Brian Housand. The Wellfield Botanic Gardens is currently made up of 18 smaller gardens and Housand said the club plans to introduce seven more. And it’s events like these that help the gardens grow.
“This is just a testament to Elkhart. A testament to the Elkhart Rotary Club. A testament to our community of what we can really do if we want to do something good,” Housand said.
While he admits that it’s too early to say, Housand estimates that Saturday’s event raised between $50,000 to $60,000.
But the Taste of the Gardens is not just about how much money is raised, he said.
“In my opinion and many of my club members’ opinions, it’s about really bringing people to the gardens,” Housand said. “We’ve only been here for seven, eight years. Lot of people, even in Elkhart, don’t necessarily know what’s here.”