By Ann Cipperly
Opelika Observer

The 7th annual Taste of the Town will provide an entertaining evening at the Museum of East Alabama with delectable food from area restaurants and assorted beverages April 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. From appetizers to desserts, chefs will showcase a tasting of their best dishes, while a silent auction will feature a variety of items and packages.
Restaurants and caterers participating in this year’s event include: Café 123, Zazu, Outback Steakhouse, Chicken Salad Chick, Long Horn Steak House, Niffer’s, Irish Bred Pub, Acre, Amsterdam Cafe, O’ Town Ice Cream, Ursula’s Catering, La Cantina, Jefferson’s, Butcher Block Barbecue, Cup and Saucer and Crepe Myrtle Café.
Along with wineries and John Emerald Distillery, Mama Mocha’s will be serving specialty coffee. Toomer’s Lemonade, sodas and bottled water will also be served throughout the museum on the upper and lower levels.
Sponsors for the fundraiser, which benefits the museum, are AuburnBank, Opelika Observer, Henry J. Stern Family Foundation, Smith T Building Supply and Glynn Smith Chevrolet.
Tables for attendees will be arranged inside the museum and outside on the sidewalk. Outdoor tables have candles for a soft light when the sun sets.
While tasting superb dishes and sipping wine, attendees can browse the silent auction on the lower level, featuring treasures from local merchants, as well as trips and golf packages.
Proceeds from the fundraiser provide for repairs and upkeep of the museum. Every year visitors from around the globe visit the museum to view the history of East Alabama.
Located at the site of the old Clement Hotel on 9th Street, the museum contains more than 5,000 artifacts from Lee and surrounding counties. The museum was founded in August 1989 by the late Eleanor and John T. Harris. Volunteers kept the museum operating until funds were available to hire a director.
The Harrises’ son, Bert Harris, who is a member of the board, reflects on the museum today, “The museum truly owes its existence to so many wonderful people who have been willing to donate their family treasures, their time and money to make the museum a success.”
“The museum is preserving our heritage intact with funds from the Taste of the Town,” Harris said, “as restaurants and wineries donate, and the community supports the event.”
Among the permanent exhibits are World War II POW Camp collection, John Herbert Orr collection, Pepperell Post Office and other items from Pepperell mill, a covered bridge exhibit and antique doll collection.
Lee County’s business, rural and architectural heritage are also displayed. Other exhibits include Civil War, collection of arrowheads, World War II exhibit, local fire and police exhibits, vintage apparel, exhibit on Roy Lee Jackson, Billy Hitchcock, a pioneer frontier kitchen with a wood burning stove and much more.
“We thank the restaurants and sponsors for their continued support of the Taste,” said board president Jim Hardin. “It is our major fund raising effort for the year and is critical for our service efforts to preserve the history of East Alabama.” 
Tickets for the event are $30 and are available at the museum or online at Membership is also available on various levels. Glenn Buxton is the museum director.
The Museum of East Alabama is located at 121 S. 9th St. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 2 to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission is free and donations are accepted. For more information, call 334-749-2751.