By Josette Keelor
FRONT ROYAL -- The Front Royal Women's Resource Center won two out of three prize categories in last year's Taste for Books event. Planning a French theme this year, their book club has a good chance of sweeping the contest, which starts at 6 p.m. April 26.
Reigning champions in the food and table decoration categories, the club has more talented chefs now for drawing inspiration from this year's book "Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes," by Elizabeth Bard.
But the friendly competition is stiff, and at the next table over, the Timberland Book Club will be ready to take the cake in this year's prize medals.
Barbara Way, of the Women's Resource Center, remembered Timberland promising to challenge them this year. They even asked Samuels Library Director Nicki McGuire Lynch to situate their table right next to the reigning champs' table.
"It's really funny because a bunch of them are members of the Women's Resource Center," Way said. "I think they're going to go all out."
The third annual Taste for Books event is a fundraiser Lynch hopes will help the library buy $15,000 worth of new, popular, award-winning and nonfiction books for its shelves. Compared to the state average of 4.14 books per person, Samuels has only 2.84 books per library patron, she said.
Library staff can divide the money in many ways, but she said she hopes to put the funds back into the collection.
The $30 admission price includes a plastic beer mug guests can refill with beer or sarsaparilla, wine tastings, tokens for voting in competition and a chance to win door prizes.
"And then you get all the food from all the tables," Lynch said.
Door prizes will include the "priceless" Capitol Exclusive Package with a one-hour tour for six of the U.S. Capitol and four-hour roundtrip limo service to Washington for the tour, and A Night at the Opry that includes four tickets and backstage tours and music CDs signed by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, a value of $900.
The Travelganza Package includes two tickets for roundtrip transportation between any two cities in the lower 48 U.S. states and two one-night stays in Omni Hotels & Resorts, a $1,300 value.
Locally based prizes include tickets to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a four-month family membership to Dominion Health & Fitness and a private guided tour of the research facility at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal.
Tickets for the event are still available, but Lynch said table slots for competitors are filled, and she said "people go way out" in table categories.
Last year, one table used a Peter Cottontail theme, from the works of Beatrix Potter, Lynch said. "The decorations were just phenomenal for that one."
Another table by a group of current and former library employees called The Mad Hatters "had everything," she said. One of their platters of food featured cookies with Hershey Kisses and chocolate chips, designed to look like little acorns.
Way's table with the Women's Resource Center enjoyed a Middle Eastern theme using the book "Day of Honey," by Annia Ciezadlo.
She said when Timberland found out the women were planning a French theme this year, "They were just worried that we were going to make an Eiffel Tower." But, "I think they're safe."
At a pre-event last week, she said the groups all came together to get information on the floor plan and enjoy wine and cheese together, so now, "all the little cats snuck out of the bag."
"Competition's a good thing here," she assured. "Everybody has a good time."
Taste for Books will be at Samuels Library, 330 E. Criser Road, Front Royal, at 6 p.m. April 26. For more information, call 540-635-3153 or visit www.samuelslibrary.net.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org