MONIQUE BATSON — Family friendly summer fun coming to Downtown Port Arthur Saturday with Taste of Summer

Published 12:34 am Friday, July 8, 2022

Even though summer in Southeast Texas is practically a year-round event, this one is, by all intents and purposes, almost over.

In about six weeks, our children will be back in school. And with the escalated price of fuel and overall inflation, taking that annual family vacation hasn’t been an option for people as it has in the past.

Summer fun has, to be honest, been rather hard to come by.

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But Saturday, the Rotary Club of Port Arthur is bringing affordable, family friendly fun to the community, while in turn raising money to benefit the residents here.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center on the Lamar State College Port Arthur campus, Rotarians are hosting Taste of Summer.

This is a brand new event created to help raise funds lost when a surge in COVID-19 cases forced us to cancel the 35th annual Taste of Gumbo.

But don’t worry — this is not replacing the popular winter event that brings people together over their favorite winter dish. Taste of Gumbo will return in March 2023.

And Taste of Summer will still incorporate what we lost earlier this year by bringing the same great gumbo vendors back in the form of a cook-off. Gumbo tasting will be free for all attendees.

In addition, we’ll have a variety of food trucks and vendors selling different items to offer you a bit of everything that makes Port Arthur great.

And for the first time in the club’s history, we’ll have a beer garden with several different beers and seltzers for sale. But parents need not worry, the area will be sectioned off and patrolled by police.

In addition to the great food and drink, there will be plenty of entertainment, which includes live music from Rolling Bones.

This group of local musicians was assembled by optometrist Barry Davis and includes a multitude of well-known Southeast Texas businessmen who just happen to have a ton of musical talent.

Tickets, available at the gate, are just $10. Children under 5 are free.

But here’s the best part — the money goes right back into the community.

The Rotary Club of Port Arthur is a non-profit service organization that works throughout the year to better the area around us. Some of our programs include passing out dictionaries to every third grade students in the Port Arthur Independent School District and boxing up free Thanksgiving dinners for more than 100 families in the city.

But our largest accomplishment is our annual scholarship program.

In May, Rotarians gave $16,500 to students in Port Arthur schools. The recipients were among 70 students that applied — a number that continues to grow each year.

And the money made from Taste of Summer will benefit that scholarship program.

While there are a great deal of area businesses that have provided us with door prizes, silent auction items and donations; I’d like to personally thank the generous people at Port Arthur LNG, Golden Pass LNG and ExxonMobil, who each donated to our foundation in order to further our scholarship program.

We couldn’t do this without their generosity.

And, of course, your attendance.

So don’t spend Saturday sitting at home. Come out to the Parker Center and join us for a great event that supports a great cause.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at