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Co-chairs sign on to promote Art & Culinary Show

Barb Peterson (left), Randy Calleja (center) and Edna Grotjahn Early are this year's honorary co-chairpersons for the eighth annual St. Croix Art & Culinary Show.

Even though it has been a favorite local event for eight years, the St. Croix Art & Culinary Show held in April remains a mystery to many.

The honorary co-chairpersons for this year's gathering are committed to getting the word out about the fun people have when they attend.

"I've loved it every year I've gone," said Barb Peterson, one of the three honorary co-chairpersons. "I don't think people know where to go for these types of arts and entertainment things. But this is something local that people can look forward to. Hopefully it will keep growing."

At this year's gathering, scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at R&D Catering Banquet Center, many artists, culinary specialists and spirits businesses will be on hand for fun, food and entertainment.

Tickets for the event are just $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Tickets are available at The Deerfield, The SPACE, Ready Randy's or online at www.newrichmon

Those attending will be treated to gourmet food samples, fancy desserts, specialty spirits, beverages, cooking demonstrations, silent auctions for artwork, drawings, entertainment and much more.

According to Co-Chairperson Randy Calleja, the event provides a chance for area artists, chefs, restaurants and beverage companies to showcase their talents and try something new.

As an example, a Ready Randy's tested a pecan encrusted walleye dish at a previous Art & Culinary and it ended up being a permanent item on the restaurant's menu.

"The talent we have around here is amazing, whether its food or the arts or spirits," he explained. "It's exciting to be part of an event that showcases that."

New this year will be an "Iron Chef" competition, pitting two local chefs against each other. Each participating chef will be given $100 in cooking supplies from Family Fresh Market, and then will create a dish for a panel of judges to taste test. The judges will determine the evening's "Iron Chef" winner.

While there is some friendly competition involved this year, Calleja noted that everyone works together to make the evening a special event. All the chefs work out of the same kitchen and help each other as samples are served up.

Not only does the event stimulate the senses, Calleja added, the money raised at the gathering goes to a great cause.

Proceeds from the night support Rotary Club of New Richmond projects, including the STRIVE Scholarship program that offers incentives to senior students who work to improve their overall grade point average during their final year of high school.

"Kids might have a bad year in high school, but STRIVE gives them something to strive for in terms of a scholarship," he said.

The third honorary co-chairperson, Edna Grotjahn Early, said she appreciates that the Rotary Club of New Richmond coordinates the annual show and partners with local sponsors to make it happen.

"I like Rotary and what they stand for," she said. "They do great things in the name of community service."

According to one of the show's organizers, Carol DeYoung, about 12 artists have signed up to participate in this year's show. Any other area artists who would like to participate are encouraged to contact Rotary soon to secure a spot.

About 10 to 12 area chefs and restaurants will also be a part of the day's festivities, along with several beverage companies providing samples of wines and spirits.

For more information or to apply as an artist or chef, contact Sue Johnson at 715-246-5282 or email at Businesses that would like to sponsor the Art & Culinary Show can also contact Johnson.