Hundreds of attendees at The Times-Gazette’s 2017 Salt Homemakers Show enjoyed an evening of food, fun, prizes and laughter Thursday evening at the Patriot Center at Southern State Community College.
The 29th edition of the show included more than 30 vendors, and the crowd began filing in at 4 p.m. to enjoy food, demonstrations and contests provided by the exhibitors.
The event also resulted in several months’ worth of food donated by attendees for the Highland County Homeless Shelter in what shelter officials say is their biggest food drive of every year. Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera was on hand to help collect the donated food items for the shelter along with other volunteers.
This year’s celebrity chefs were Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins and Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin, Dr. Rob Sharp and Dr. Reid Sharp, and Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings and his wife, Taryn.
When the show began at 6 p.m., Collins and Wilkin demonstrated how to make chicken salad wraps, with Collins noting that Wilkin only found out the recipe they were making shortly before the show. The banter and good-natured barbs they traded brought laughter from the audience, and they scored more points when they ventured into the crowd to share their finished product with audience members.
The Sharps demonstrated separate recipes, with Reid Sharp showing how to make chicken tikka masala, an Indian dish – which humorously slid off the plate when he finished. Rob Sharp exhibited his skill with Italian sausage soup with tortellini, advising the crowd that cooking with wine will not lead to intoxication after it is properly boiled.
Drew and Taryn Hastings took a different tack, with the couple describing the challenges of finding time for home-cooked meals with their busy schedules. Taryn Hastings showed how she prepares Captain Crunch for her husband, serving it to him in a collapsible strainer which the mayor said he had been using as a flyswatter. They also had pizza and salads delivered to them on stage from local carry-outs.
Drew Hastings described the difficulties of keeping enough pots, pans and utensils in the same place given that they have two different residences, a farm outside of town and a home in Hillsboro. He added, “You know, I found out the state really doesn’t care for that,” as the audience roared and applauded.
Also performing Thursday was Herb Day, longtime local radio personality and entertainer, who accompanied himself on the guitar as he sang three songs, including a couple for a recent CD, “God’s House.” Day had the audience clapping along with him through his performance. The crowd also enjoyed it when at one point, Day brought on stage Drew and Taryn Hastings’ young daughter, Willow, to join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to an audience member.
“This was one of our best shows ever,” said Sharon Hughes, media sales director for The Times-Gazette, who emceed the show along with Leslie Ramsey. “All of our celebrity chefs were really outstanding and hilarious. The audience loved them. Herb was excellent, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the whole show.”
Gary Abernathy, publisher of The Times-Gazette, thanked Southern State Community College for the use of the Patriot Center, along with James Scott for providing audio engineering for Thursday’s show.
Hughes said next year’s show – the 30th – will include some additional added attractions that are already in the planning stages.
This year’s vendors were Highland District Hospital, Kroger, Walmart, Bon Appetit, Walgreens, Dallas Music, Adena, The Millers – Sisel Products, Olde Cellar, Washington Drip LLC-Ancient Valley Coffee, Croswell Bus Tours, The Laurels, Merchants National Bank, State Farm-Amatha Farrens, Humana, Maher Medical Message, Highland County Recycling, Twenty-Four Exchange, Highland County Senior Citizen Center, Tourism Bureau of Highland County, Our Daily Bread, Cowaburger, Lowes, WVNU, Hope House, Imagine You Sterling Jewelry Design by Cindy Baker, Hometown Woodwerks, Paparazzi Jewelry-Tina Fulton, Essential Oils-Shelly Patton, HEKA Enterprises and The Times-Gazette.
Other sponsors supplying gift certificates or other prizes were Humana-Sandy Bertel, Tissot’s Home Center, Shoelace Catering, Lukas Pharmacy, Dance Steel Farm Supply, Elli May’s Grooming, Creeview Barn, K&B Plumbing, Old Y Restaurant, Sue Boone Realty, #1 China Buffet and Janie’s Closet.