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Wellesley Taco Night aims to boost options, support worthwhile causes

Some tweaks improved this year’s Taste of Wellesley Taco Night fundraiser, with public feedback likely to shape future offerings, say organizers, noting it shows residents that small towns can host exciting events without driving all the way to the cities.

Now in its second year, the event also raises money for worthwhile causes, with proceeds this time being split between Habitat for Humanity and families displaced by a fire last month in a multi-unit building in the township.

The organizers were pleased at the turnout at the all-you-can-eat Wellesley Taco Night on June 9. Not only did the event sell out, they also sold 1,600 tacos in two hours. [Faisal Ali / the observer]
“We talk about a new Wellesley: there are a lot of younger families that have moved in the last 10-15 years,” explained Blair Cressman of the Wellesley & District Lions Club. “Some of the new subdivisions have been developed and finished up, and so we’re trying to cater to some of the newer, younger families with fun events right in their backyard.

“We’re focusing on things that are family oriented,” he added. “It gives opportunities for neighbours to get together and have a nice evening in their town and not have to head out to Waterloo or other locations. That’s been successful.”

The event featured all-you-can-eat tacos, craft beer, Mexican drinks, live music and activities for the kids. The event was largely geared towards children, says Cressman.

“The turnout was amazing,” said chef Steve Doiron, a member of the Lions Club and former owner of The Odd Duck food truck in Wellesley. “We sold out and served 1,600 tacos in two hours. The plan is to continue next year. It keeps growing.”

They survived the busy crowds through the help of many hardworking volunteers, according to Val Johnson, a Wellesley resident who was also on the organizing committee.

“We had a local guy, Pat LaFrenere and his friend Junior, playing an acoustic set and crafts and a piñata for the kids,” added Johnson. “The environment was so fun and full of locals and friends from out of Wellesley as well. It initially was created as a community event to bring people together.”

The group said there were some changes from last years’ Taco Night.

“We had done it last year a little bit differently, and I think we thought this would be a better fit, trying to do it a little bit simpler,” said Cressman. “We had last year just done a small cover charge and purchase tacos, and it was a bit tricky to handle. So we decided to do an all-you-can-eat event.”

This technique was much more effective, as it allowed the staff to stay much more organized.

“The all-you-can-eat was definitely better than the order-and-pay we did last year,” said Johnson.

The committee is currently gathering feedback from everyone who was involved to make it bigger and better for the next year, when the Taco Night tradition will continue. They are also in the midst of planning other local events, as they are currently planning for an Oktoberfest event in the fall, said Cressman.

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