Fire & Ice Food

Expect the unexpected during the 2019 Taste of Bullhead fundraiser.
With the theme, “Fire & Ice,” adopt the attitude that anything can and might just happen during the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce’s popular members-only event. The party is also for adults only.
Taking place Saturday, Feb. 23 (5 p.m. NV time), within the Avi Resort & Casino’s Grand Ballroom, everything will scream the theme, from the décor to attire, food to libations. In other words, creativity will be on alert, running both hot and cold, but at the end of the day, the name of the game is having fun.
“I think right now we’re at 14 restaurants that are participating,” said John Pynakker, chamber president and CEO. “We’ve got some of the same ones we had in the past and we’ve got a couple of new ones that we’re pretty excited about — for example, River Dog is back. They used to be with us all the time and then they missed last year, but they’re back.
“JP’s Irish Pub is brand new, so they’re gonna be out there and that’s nice to see,” he said.
Both Western Arizona Regional Medical Center and Valley View Medical Center will be dispelling the myth about hospital food.
“They’re both going to have their restaurants out there,” Pynakker said. “People in the past have had the notion that hospital food is so miserable. Well, these are elite teams and they do some really nice things so that’s exciting.”
Chartwells (from Colorado River Union High School District schools) and Firehouse Coffee also will be participating.
“Because this is a chamber-members only event, you can only be a restaurant there if you’re a chamber member,” he explained. “That goes for people who want to attend the event. Let’s say you work for a business that is a chamber member, you can buy a ticket or eight tickets or a table, and bring people who aren’t chamber members — and we encourage that.”
Since a costume contest is one of the activities, Pynakker said people are finding “fire and ice” ideas a bit challenging.
“We’ve been hit up by a lot of people for ideas and I really just tell ’em to go to the internet and just look up fire and ice ’cause there’s been enough fire-and-ice-themed parties around the country. For the women, I think it’s a little easier because you’ve got the Elsa thing, the Ice Princess and all those kinds of things. But for the guys it’s a little more difficult.
“I usually wear a tux, and that doesn’t really fall into the fire and ice theme, but we did have someone suggest I wear a fireman’s gear — it’s hot enough in there, I don’t need to be wearing fireman’s gear on top of that,” he said with a laugh.
Pynakker said the theme also will be reflected in the food and the décor.
“I know some of the vendors are working with the theme — there’s a lady who has Pixie Dust Treats, she’s coming back this year — she won Best Dessert last year,” he said.
“She’s talked about doing a fire dessert and an ice dessert.
“I know John Hassett over at JP’s is doing some sort of fire and ice thing with his food. He’s got some drinks as well that he’s talking about doing so I know that the restaurants are going to have some fun with the theme.
“I think the big thing is how we’re going to transform the Grand Ballroom hallway walking in and the room itself,” he added. “Jackie Walker, City of Bullhead City sponsorship coordinator, is our chairperson and she’s had these great ideas on how to make the room really stand out and pop. We always decorate the tables really nice, but this time we’re talking about the whole perimeter of the room, which I think, is really going to be sharp.”
Also keeping with the theme is the evening’s entertainment, The Kid & Nic Show.
“Every year we have Kid & Nic, and they’re awesome,” Pynakker said. “They did our Oktoberfest this year as well. We just tell ’em, ‘Look, this is what the theme is’ and they come up with a playlist for it — they’re really involved in the theatrics of it. They’re so easy to work with and super nice people. We love having them there.
This popular husband and wife duo, a.k.a. Nicole and Kirk Tracy, keep the crowds dancing, singing and laughing along as they perform pop, rock, dance, oldies, country, ’80s hits, Latin, funk, swing, blues, jazz and reggae, often complete with costumes.
In addition to food and live entertainment, a live auction and a raffle are part of the fun.
“In the past, we’ve done the silent auction,” he said. “We’d get four or six tables loaded with $20, $25 and $50 gift certificates, art and things like that. It’s a whole lot of work to raise a little bit of money, so last year we changed it up and did a live auction. We auctioned off four or five big things and that went so much better, so we’re going to do that again. We’ve got some pretty outstanding things — we have a $10,000 advertising package that the Mohave Valley Daily News is a part of, so the winning bidder can do advertising between the newspaper, the radio, TV and all that. The city buses have donated some advertising space as well, so that’s a big one.
“We’ve got a trip to Mammoth Lakes with a hotel and overnight stay, dinner, gondola rides and fly-fishing. It’s a nice package.
“We have a local guy here who makes wooden flags in his spare time,” Pynakker added. “They’re rustic and beat up a little bit, and he hand carves the stars in. They’re big — a six-foot wooden flag — something he sells for $500 or $600 and he’s donated one.
“Lamar Advertising has donated one month on a billboard worth around $1,000,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of really cool things but the best prize by far, has gotta be like last year, when the chamber auctioned off the services of John Hassett and myself for a day. We’re doing that again this year.
“As long as you don’t abuse us, and it’s nothing demeaning or immoral, but outside of that, we’re yours for the day,” he said with a laugh. “Usually when we get to that point in the program, there’s been a lot of drinking, I don’t know that everybody catches the fine details. We did pretty good on that one last year. That could be a lot of fun for someone.”
There also will be a cash raffle.
“It’s $1,100 this year, you buy tickets and the winner takes home a briefcase full of cash,” Pynakker said. “Then we also have a table full of liquor. I think last year it was somewhere around 30 or 32 bottles of different assorted liquors — there’s wine, there’s tequila, all sorts of stuff. The really neat thing to see is somebody walking out of there with five cases of different kinds of alcohol. You’d have to be really thirsty.
“We hope that they take it home, have a huge party and invite us, but that hasn’t happened,” he said, laughing.
The event has sold out pretty much every year since its inception eight years ago, with between 450 and 470 people in attendance.
“Jan Barrios was the one who used to put the event together every year on behalf of the Chamber Ambassadors — we lost her about a year and a half ago. It was shocking,” Pynakker said. “Our biggest sponsor, John Hassett of Desert Lawn, has a table that will be up front and center — you can’t miss it — it is the Jan Barrios Forever Table. We plan on keeping that and honoring her every time we have this event. It wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for her. What a nice way to remember her.”
Funds raised at the event will be used for a new sign.
“We’re trying to change our sign out in front,” Pynakker said. “We’ve got that old, nasty 40-year-old sign out there and we’re trying to change it out to something new, more modern, more decorative and more informative. We spend a lot of money having people go out there to update it — it’s the kind where you put the little numbers and letters and everything up in there and when the wind blows the words are all screwed up. So if we can get it to the point where we can change it internally here, something that is readable at night — because once it gets a little dark out, you can’t read the sign — so that’s the goal. They’re expensive. We’re a nonprofit, and we’re at the mercy of the little bit of funds we can raise outside our membership money.”
Tickets are limited. They are $40 per person or $75 per couple, and tables start at $500. For more information, contact the chamber by either calling 928-754-4121 or visiting the website: BullheadAreaChamber.com.


TASTE OF BULLHEAD

Grand Ballroom at the Avi

Saturday, Feb. 23 (starts 5 p.m.)

Tickets $40 (chamber members only)