The Winthrop Barn

The Winthrop Barn

By Laurelle Walsh

It’s that time of year again, when Winthrop Kiwanis hosts its annual Bite of the Methow.

The ever-popular Bite happens on Saturday (March 15) at the Winthrop Barn, with bidding on silent auction items starting at 3 p.m., food service at 5 p.m., and a live auction starting at 7 p.m.

The event packs the Barn each year — just under 400 tickets were sold in 2013 — and features live and silent auctions, a chefs’ contest, a sit-down dinner and no-host bar and, new this year, a raffle for a week-long cruise for two on Holland America Lines, according to Bite organizer John Owen.

Seventeen chef-teams representing local establishments from the Mazama Country Store to La Fonda Lopez will enter comestibles in this year’s chefs’ contest. The entries are judged by “three of the highest-quality epicureans we can pull in off the streets,” Owen said.

Past award categories included Best Entree, Best Dessert, Best New Bite Chef and Judges’ Choice. The winner in each category will receive a certificate to display at their place of business, Owen said.

Live and silent auction items include an eclectic array of goods, services and experiences such as a guided Columbia River fishing trip, a sleigh ride, dinner for six, music lessons, or two hours of bulldozer work, with values ranging from $10 to $900, according to Bite literature.

All proceeds from the Bite fund Winthrop Kiwanis projects like the Key Club, Builders Club and Key Leader programs, all geared toward developing young leaders, said Owen. Kiwanis has also taken the lead in community improvements that benefit kids throughout the valley, such as a bicycle pump track, a porch on the Winthrop Library and a play court in Mazama, Owen said.

A portion of the live auction at each Bite goes toward a larger Fund-A-Dream project that Winthrop Kiwanis identifies as a need in the community.

This year’s Fund-A-Dream project is the replacement of Liberty Bell High School’s wrestling mats, which have been in use since 1990 and are “in deplorable shape,” according to Owen. “The school district’s sports budget is not sufficient to replace the mats,” estimated to cost around $9,000, and Kiwanis would like to help make up the difference, Owen said.

More than $6,000 was raised for Fund-A-Dream at the 2013 Bite, which went towards construction of the Twisp Sports Complex near the Twisp Municipal Airport. “A lot of progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Owen.

The first Bite of the Methow was held in 1995, raised around $1,200 for Kiwanis projects, “and has grown in leaps and bounds ever since,” said Owen. Last year’s Bite grossed over $38,000, he reports.

Tickets for the 2014 Bite may be pre-purchased from any Winthrop Kiwanian, at the Tenderfoot in Winthrop or at Windermere Methow in Twisp. The cost is $10 per person; kids age 6 and under get in for free.

Tickets may also be purchased at the Barn starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the event.

For more information contact Gary Erickson at 997-1086.