It was a record crowd with all 350 tickets selling out mid-week prior to the event and a waiting list to get in. In just five short years, the event has grown exponentially, as has the crowd, the sponsors and number of food trucks. This is great news for aMuse'um, Columbia Children's Museum, which is a local nonprofit that operates strictly on donations and monies raised.
The event, held Saturday evening April 15, featured Austin Tyler Jones as its entertainment and had draft beer on tap by local brewery, Asgard. Ten food trucks provided samplings of a variety of foods, from tacos to donuts. Community First Bank & Trust served as the headline sponsor for the second year in a row. Additionally, 52 other businesses and individuals also contributed sponsorships that raised $41,250 for the museum.
One of the founders of aMuse'um, Grippo, took to the stage to explain how far the museum has come in such a short period of time. "Six years ago a bunch of us were looking inside the empty building trying to imagine what a children's museum might look like in Columbia. A lot of people imagined right along with us, supporting our effort in filling the walls with educational exhibits," she said.
Grippo went on to say, "Since that time over 75,000 visitors have visited our children's museum. On Saturday morning I was looking at the empty parking lot trying to imagine how this amazing board of directors turns it into this unforgettable party, and I was blown away by the transformation! We thought the first event, held back in 2013, was a huge success when we raised $5,000. This year's event brought in nearly $50,000! Each year it get better and better, with more sponsors and attendees."
aMuse'um's Chair of the Board, Sarah Hoelscher, said, "The Food Truck Festival has evolved into aMuseum's largest annual fundraiser, with this year raising over $50,000. We are extremely thankful for the sponsors of this event. The money raised will be directly invested back to the children of this community. Their generosity has provided a platform for the museum to grow this event, and we are very grateful for that."
She also said that, "We are most excited to announce that because of the continued success of this event, we are in the position to hire a new executive director. Maeghan Wall officially started this position April 17th."
Specifically, the museum has purchased a new exhibit set to be installed this May. "The Lite Brite wall will be fun for children and adults alike," Hoelscher said. "We will also be working to refurbish our current exhibits and plan to offer more programs and classes."
In closing, she added, "The aMuse'um board is always appreciative of the community that we serve. This community continues to rally behind us year after year by purchasing tickets to our events, making charitable donations, investing their time, frequenting the museum, and countless other endeavours. The museum would not be here without this continued support.
aMuse'um board members from left to right (back row): Desyi Cook, Chris Burgess, Holly Dobbs, Sarah Hoelscher, Sheena Gentry, Tammy Walker, Maeghan Wall, Susan Claire Leach, Sonya Butler, Ty Cobb, Terri Jones, April Grippo, Helen Hickman. (front row): Mark Baker, Sondra Wilson, Caroline Kropf
I am humbled to be part of a board that comes together so seamlessly to make events like the Food Truck Festival an enormous success. No organization can accomplish these feats without the dedication and loyalty of a strong, working board. On top of that, we all just genuinely like each other and have fun working together!"
To see ALL the photos from the event and to order photos, click HERE.