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Maternity home gets taste of success

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

There were few empty plates Sunday night at Fort Hays State University's Memorial Union Ballroom, as folks sampled offerings from 20 local restaurants and supported a local cause.

Close to 500 tickets for the seventh annual Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home Taste of Hays were sold in advance of the event. The event filled the ballroom with the aroma of dozens of delicacies and was punctuated by the buzz of happy eaters,

"It's such a collage of people," said Marty Straub, member of Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home's board of advisers, as he glanced around the crowd, greeting many as they contemplated where to begin their culinary journey. "It's a beautiful day. Hope we have enough food."

Of the 250 pairs of tickets sold, Straub said only five remained unsold prior to Sunday's festivities. Several people often buy tickets at the door each year, so it was Straub's prediction Sunday's event would be a sell-out.

Each year, the Taste of Hays event nets approximately $25,000 toward needs of Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home, Straub said. Throughout its seven years, approximately $175,000 has been raised. The funds are put to use for whatever necessities the home might require.

"Whether it's the needs of the babies or the mothers or the house," Straub said. "Insulating, changing windows ... whatever needs to be done."

Restaurants donated all the food for the event, a gift for which Straub said Mary Elizabeth supporters were thankful. A few new restaurant participants were on hand Sunday night.

It was the first year for Mike Huskey, owner of Sake2Me Sushi Rolls, who said his offerings of seared Ahi tuna on rice crackers with avocado jalapeno sauce were getting rave reviews.

Huskey discussed the sauce with several passersby, but one man needed no convincing of how good it would taste.

"I'm a fan of this guy," said Cody Marintzer about Huskey as he reached for the tuna on a cracker.

When asked if he had a favorite dish, Loren Pearson said he hadn't quite settled on just one particular treat yet.

"They're all good," he said laughing. "I had barbecued beef.

"I had pizza. I had rolls. I had shrimp. ... It's all good. It's a great community effort."