To Seth Morgan, university alumnus and owner of Denton County Brewing Company, Taste of North Texas is all about community.
“That’s what makes a place what it is, it’s all about the people,” Morgan said. “If you have a good community that helps and supports each other through thick and thin, that’s what makes a place really good to live in.”
Morgan joined more than 35 fellow vendors at Golden Triangle Mall for the sampling event last week. Hosted by Denton Kiwanis Club, the 31st annual fundraiser welcomed community members to enjoy a variety of food and beverages from local businesses, including Boka Feliz Mexican Kitchen and Beth Marie’s Ice Cream.
While it originated as a fundraiser for UNT athletics, Taste of North Texas later developed into an event supporting the Denton Kiwanis Club. The evening’s proceeds go toward funding the Denton Kiwanis Children’s Clinic. The clinic offers medical, prescription and dental services to children across Denton County for little to no cost.
“You can see from our long history in Denton that our primary focus is to help as many children as possible,” said Robin Meyer, university alumna and Denton Kiwanis Club executive secretary. “So, it’s a great way to help the Kiwanis Club and our projects, but it’s also a fun event where everyone can feel comfortable and can bring their entire family out to enjoy what our vendors have to offer.”
Mike Boyle, Denton Kiwanis Club member and owner of Kolache Haven, has participated as a vendor in every Taste of North Texas with the club. Boyle believes the event is a great way to connect with others in the local community over a common cause.
“It’s nice being able to talk with everyone at the show,” Boyle said. “We just always want everyone to have a good time and support the kids.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Taste of North Texas event was the club’s first since 2019. After facing many setbacks over the past few years, Tanya Blixt, Denton Kiwanis Club member and Taste of North Texas co-chair, said seeing this year’s event come to fruition makes it even more exciting. Aside from the club’s own efforts, she believes the community’s ongoing support has further contributed to the success of the club and its projects.
“We know it’s going to have a positive impact because of the reception we’ve received in telling people that we’re back,” Blixt said. “The excitement in the community is there and the fact that the money goes back to help the children of the community is just a big bonus.”
This year’s Taste of North Texas was the first for Lillie Davis-James, Denton resident and co-owner of HTeaO. She said it was great seeing people across the Denton area come out to support local businesses and learn about what they all have to offer.
“The Denton community is just tremendous,” Davis-James said. “It’s been amazing seeing everyone take part. […] When [philanthropy] is at the root of who you are, morally, you value the fact that you can give back to the community that’s given to you.”
Denton Kiwanis Club will hold several other events this year, including their annual East Side Crawfish Boil on May 1 and the Fourth of July Fireworks Show. Blixt said it is a blessing to have an organization like the Denton Kiwanis Club making a difference for those in her community, both personally and professionally. She encourages others to join not only to help aid those in need but also for self-fulfillment by connecting with many across their own community.
“It’s something that all of our hearts need,” Blixt said. “We all have a nice full heart just because of what we do.”
For more about Denton Kiwanis Club membership and the organization’s fundraising projects visit dentonbreakfastkiwanis.org.
Featured Image: Signs remind attendees that Taste of North Texas wristbands are required to sample food on March 31, 2022. Photo by Ileana Serrano