All the ingredients of the melting pot that make up the Stateline Area were offering their full body of flavor Saturday at the third annual Empty Bowl fundraiser.
The event, benefitting Caritas, served close to a thousand guests, sold over 400 ceramic bowls, and raised at least $6,200.
“It’s been a great crowd and a great turnout. I’m very happy with it,” said Empty Bowl event chair Jim Andrews.
New additions and new guests certainly contributed to the event’s success. Among the new attractions in 2013 were exhibitions during which some cooks demonstrated how to make their specialties.
Bill Dearth of Machine Shed Restaurant cooked up his Baked Potato Soup to kick the show off.
Tom Sullivan of Beloit Health System showed how to make his Chicken and Rice concoction at noon and Mary Ann Suprenant and Jody Perrecone from Vegetarians in Motion followed soon after with their Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup.
Matt Porter of Bushel and Peck’s Local Market showed off his Rustic Country Vegetable to conclude the demonstrations.
“It’s just a great cause, I’m really happy to be able to be here to support it,” Sullivan said.
“It’s a wonderful event, and we’re also trying to show people that vegetarianism is more than just salads,” Perrecone said.
Another new feature for Empty Bowl III was a booth by Doodles which offered an arts and crafts opportunity. Guests could put glaze on their own bowl and pick it up in the days to follow from Doodles after the arts shop fired them in a kiln.
Despite all the new attractions, the event’s signature item was the hottest commodity. There were 29 different varieties of soup available to guests and both the event and the steamy stews were so popular that event staff actually ran out of donated bowls from Culver’s only about halfway through the event and had to make a run for more.
“We come every year. It’s just a great event and we want to do whatever we can to help out the cause,” Terry Brack said.
Soups were from dozens of Stateline Area sites including but not limited to Beloit Family Restaurant, Jersey’s Bar & Grill, Tilley’s Pizza House, Suds O’Hanahan’s Irish Pub, Sophia’s Restaurant, The Butterfly Club, and many more. Additionally, Bagels & More and Mary’s Market provided artisan breads.
“It’s just great to see the community all coming together like this,” Andrews said.
The community’s camaraderie may not have been on display in any way better than through the diversity of volunteers helping to make the event possible. Volunteers included Beloit Memorial High School students, Girl Scouts, Beloit College students, Caritas volunteers, and more.
“Well I needed to do some volunteer work for a class and I knew that this was a really good event and a good cause, so I made sure to be here,” Derell Carter, a sophomore at Beloit College, said.
Throughout the afternoon, guests were entertained by Lou Peer, Rock River Rounders from Beloit College, Adam Hinkle, Rock Valley Badger Chordhawks, and Paul Zimmerman.
A good deal of the additions to Empty Bowl’s third edition were thanks to a grant from Visit Beloit.
“We’re just so grateful to everyone for all the help and time and effort,” Donna Ambrose, Executive Director of Caritas said.
In the end, it may be Andrews who hands a check over to Ambrose. And it may be Ambrose who makes sure the money goes to the right places, but it was the Stateline Area and its residents of all demographics who made sure that the third time came with extra charm for Empty Bowl.
“For a community our size to generate the huge numbers in terms of involvement by restaurants and community is truly extraordinary,” Andrews said. “It’s great what people can do when they work together.”