A large crowd goes to the community exhibit and kitchen show

Attracting its biggest crowd yet, Constantine’s fourth annual Community Expo and Cooking Show was held on November 7th.

Featuring dozens of local artisans and area businesses at Constantine High School, vendors said they were thrilled with the foot traffic at the event.

“It was a great turnout,” said Dawn Greider Bohm, of Dawn’s Wood Sturgis Earrings. “We have been very successful and won new customers.”

The cooking show, which followed the exhibit, was hosted by Sturgis Journal food columnist Laura Kurella and, although she advertised giveaways totaling over $1,000, she gave more than $2,000 through door prize donations from local artisans and area businesses.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generous support for this event,” Kurella said. “National and local area support pushed our giveaway pot to nearly $2,000 in giveaways and giveaways. So much that I should have changed the name of the cooking show to ‘crazy-awesome gift palooza’ because that there was so much to give.”

In addition to door prize donations from local businesses, Kurella’s cooking show has also been supported by Berg’s Gourmet Garlic Farm, BlendJet, Bullseye Marketplace, Corey Lake Orchards, Five Lakes Coffee, The Food Channel, Foodstirs, Goodcook , Meijer, Nano Towels, Ocean Mist Farms, Olive Fresh, PostNet, Rag Lady, Real Salt, Sand Lake Party Store, Spiceology, The Cookie Cups, US Cranberries and USA Pears.

Featuring three different food segments: olive oil, artichokes and fruit drinks, Kurella drew four viewers onto the stage for each segment to try their hand at using the ingredients featured in that segment.

Closing the event on a high note, with a drawing for the grand prize, a $250 gift card from Three Rivers Meijer, Jones resident Cheryl Haskins said she was thrilled to hear them call her name. .

“It was my first time attending this event,” Haskins said. “I really enjoyed shopping at the exhibition and attending Laura Kurella’s cooking show, which was filled with great prizes, and this $250 Meijer gift card that I won. It was very exciting and fun.

“It was a great event,” said event director Kathy Messner. “There was a terrific turnout and a steady stream of people at the exhibit who were able to browse while listening to live keyboard music, just like in the good old days, provided by Bev Smith.”

Speaking on behalf of the Constantine Community Fitness Center, which helped underwrite the event, as well as the Constantine Township Library, Messner said underwriters couldn’t be happier.

“The quality of the vendors, the generosity of the door prizes and the donations the audience made to the local food bank were all amazing,” Messner said. “Laura filled her cooking show with fun, humor, action and prizes galore. I doubt anyone came away empty-handed, and I’m sure everyone enjoyed the new addition of music from live piano on Laura’s Cooking Show Russell Gates is an incredible professional performer, and his musical enhancements made his show a very special treat for all of us.

Laura Kurella’s cooking show crew included Ryan Conrod, Russell Gates and Joe Rambadt.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Community