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Tasty treats always popular at Symphony Sunday

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the 31st Symphony Sunday approaches, one of the biggest attractions wouldn't come off if it weren't for volunteers. That attraction would be the food, of course.

More than 130 volunteers and community donations make the food concessions one of the symphony's most profitable fundraisers, according to Helen Lodge, who's served as concession chairwoman for 28 years.

Open from 3 to 9 p.m. June 2, Bayer Symphony Sunday's food concession is a "community effort, it truly is," Lodge says.

Many of the volunteers are members of the West Virginia Symphony League, but surprisingly, Lodge said, many are not.

"They are just friends and people I meet along the way and they say, 'Oh, I'd like to help you next year.'"

Lodge said Symphony Sunday also could not happen without the community businesses that step up to donate money and volunteer their time.

One of the most popular booths, "An Ear for the Symphony," sells roasted corn. All the profits go directly back to the orchestra because everything from the corn to the labor is donated.

Jeb Corey, owner of C&H Taxi and a symphony board member, organizes his friends and family to spend the day roasting corn. His uncle, Bob Corey, owner of Corey Brothers Produce, donates the corn, and Foodland donates the liquid margarine.

In addition to the ears of corn, Corey Brothers donates coleslaw and onions for the hot dog and barbecue booth, another booth from which all of the proceeds go directly to benefit the orchestra. Other local vendors that make the hot dog and barbecue booth possible are U.S. Food Services, which donates franks; Buzz Food Products, which donates chili; and Heiner's Bakery, which donates buns.

However, Lodge says, the food concession is not just a fundraiser for the symphony. Other local businesses and organizations also profit from the event. Ellen's Ice Cream, Ichiban, Vandalia Grille and St. George Orthodox Cathedral all split their profits from the event 70/30 with the symphony.

This year the Symphony League will bring back its Italian meatball sandwiches. Lodge says originally the meatballs were made in the homes of the Symphony League members, but with changing Health Department guidelines, this year the meatballs will be assembled in the University of Charleston kitchen.

Past symphony President Mary Rose Nair will also be in the U.C. kitchen preparing Mary Rose's Spicy Bowl -- a channa masala and basmati rice dish -- the proceeds from which also go back to the symphony.

Other crowd-pleasers include the rib dinner, prepared by chef Dawn Ashley of the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club restaurant, and funnel cakes and other deep-fried treats provided by Billy Williams, of Delbarton.

And Lodge says no Symphony Sunday would be complete without the Symphony's almost-secret lemonade. Kroger provides the key ingredient -- nonalcoholic margarita mix.

Mission Savvy's Organic-to-Go and Bridge Road Bistro will be joining the festivities as new vendors this year with their mobile vending trucks.

Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at 304-348-1249 or email autumn.hopkins@wvgazette.com.


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