This is the party you do not want to miss.
Every dollar raised at the Foodfest goes to support programs at GISD.
Georgetown ISD’s Education Foundation 50 Fellas Foodfest is October 26 at Reunion Ranch. While this five-star tailgate party was created to support the students of GISD, it is an adults-only event that has grown to over-capacity, so get your tickets early.
Word of mouth from previous successes brought almost 500 guests to the 2018 event, which raises money to support the Foundation’s mission to assist the district in providing a world-class education for all students.
Originally, manly teams of two “chefs” each registered from government, business, and individual schools, but entry is open to everyone. Foodfest Chair Dr. Jensen Young says they already have more than 40 cooking teams, many co-ed, registered.
Another change this year is the move to Reunion Ranch, which Jensen says will provide a much greater experience for the chefs and guests. “Cooking on the tarmac at the airport was rough in the mid-day sun. At the Ranch there is plenty of outdoor space, but it is also shaded, and inside, cooks will be able to watch football while their grills are working.”
There will also be auction items and live entertainment throughout the evening.
Team dishes are judged by guests based on their flavor, creativity and how memorable they are. Guests receive chips to vote for their favorites, and teams typically have some kind of lively bell-ring or other attention grabbing means to let the other teams know (trash-talk) when they’ve received a vote.
The best appetizer, entrée, and dessert will be chosen by popular vote and awarded a trophy—as well as extreme bragging rights. All participants receive a cook-themed SWAG bag as well.
As a guest, you can expect a lot of satisfying dishes like brisket queso and chicken-fried bacon, mango salsa fish tacos and bourbon chocolate cake. Secret recipes for smoked meatloaf, pork loin, ribs falling off the bone, chicken gumbo, and fried grit cakes are very popular, as are the variety of adult beverages offered to wash them down.
Last year, with generous pre-event sponsorship from HEB, Walsh Gallegos, Raymond James, Georgetown Health Foundation and many others, then later ticket sales and silent auction items, the Foundation raised in excess of $74,000 for all of its programs, particularly teacher grants and the Sea Perch program. Jensen says this year’s goal is $100,000, and donations can be made anytime at FiftyFellas.com or GISDedFound.org
Board member Greg Bowden adds, “We are extremely blessed to live in a community that believes in the vision and comes out to cook, and eat, every year to give back to the students.”
Teacher grants provide up to $5,000 for individuals or groups who wish to apply new and innovative techniques, at all levels, in their classrooms.
“Georgetown is an engaged community,” Jensen adds. “Having so much support for innovative programs over the past five years has been very rewarding for all of us.”
The Foundation reports that grant applications have tripled in the last five years. Jensen explains, “After a few years, many teachers who received grants and launched new programs have been able to see them come to fruition. Seeing those successes is putting even more energy into the process and inspiring others to go beyond.”
So much success is a good problem to have, he says. “We feel the heat because we would love to award every well-written grant and planned request. Events like the FoodFest give us greater flexibility every year.”
Grants in Action
One of the great benefits of the Foundation is the opportunities it provides for outside giving. Thanks to a generous donation to the Foundation from SportClips CEO Gordon Logan, contributions to the 2019 event may provide more funding for a new Cosmetology program at the high school level.
“Mr. Logan got the ball rolling,” Jensen says. “His contribution comes from a great place because he wants to promote and be a resource for those who feel college is not the path for them. Students in this program will graduate high school with a cosmetology license and can start a career right away with no debt.” The Georgetown Chamber is also chipping in to help students purchase their $400-500 kits.
SportClips’ donation highlights the beauty of the Foundation—programs with the potential for great change can be implemented without asking taxpayers for more. The School Board has named the center in Mr. Logan’s honor.