ROCKPORT, Texas — In an effort to provide support to both local restaurants and area students hoping to pursue college, “A Taste of Rockport-Fulton” launched Monday, with more than 20 businesses already on board.
The four-week event is a result of a joint effort between the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Rockport.
Adelaide Marlatt, who oversees the club’s scholarship foundation, said they have funded more than 20 student scholarships in the past 18 months.
“We fund them currently through first year and all the way through the fourth year,” Marlatt said. “We don’t know if we’ll be able to continue doing this, but because we have skipped the last two fundraisers, we sat down with the chamber and (Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Probst) asked if we could take our ‘Taste of Rockport’ concept to ‘Restaurant Week.’”
Marlatt said making a contribution to their scholarship fund only takes the scan of a QR code on the table of participating businesses.
“(It’s) something new, but it allows individuals to use their phone to access a website where they can make donations,” she said. “Of course, we’re accepting donations through the mail to at PO Box 66, Rockport Rotary Foundation.”
Additionally, there is also a “bingo game” that gives participants who visit 10 different restaurants the shot at a prize that’s worth more than $2,000.
“It’s kind of like a raffle, and raffles always go well — but instead of paying money for a ticket, you support your local restaurants and eateries,” said Mermaid's Kitchen owner and chef Samantha McCrary.
During the peak of the pandemic last year, she said keeping her business afloat was a challenge.
“We literally resorted to selling ground beef, eggs, toilet paper and paper towels through a drive-through window,” she said. “If I’d had a payment on my restaurant or a I’d had to pay a lease, I really don’t think we would’ve made it.”
Moving forward, McCrary said even though it’s a change, she’s looking forward to showing off her food to others.
“I usually do the Taste of Rockport for the Rotary Club, so I’m kind of excited for about doing it a little bit differently this year, so people have more options to see what you actually can do in your restaurant,” she said. “This allows people to get in there, and really try what you have and see what you do.”