Tasting tamales and eyeing collector motorcycles made for a festive Friday evening at a Foster Elementary fundraiser.
The school’s fourth annual Tamale Throw-Down attracted more than 250 people and raised funds for the school, which is known for its English-Spanish dual immersion program.
The funds will be dedicated half to support the school’s Parent Teacher Association and half to fund a school program called Project Prepare, an afterschool program involving clubs and activities.
“We have found that students who participate in these clubs outperform their peers in the Colorado Student Assessment Program on reading and math,” said Tracie Mayes, who serves on the school PTA and helped coordinate the event.
This year the event was moved from the school, 5300 Saulsbury Court in Arvada, to the Lamar Street Center nearby at 5889 Lamar St., which is designed for receptions and events and now features vintage motorcycles and cars.
“We were able to attract more people by putting it in the larger center and attract more of the extended community,” said Mayes. She noted this was the first event at the center since it had been renovated, which was an added draw.
Mayes said the tamale theme is ideal for the school given its Spanish and English immersion emphasis.
And although the tally for the event was not available at press time, she said the event — based on tickets and silent auction items — raised more than $7,000 the year before last and not quite as much last year.
At the event, participants taste tamales — keeping track which tamale stations they have visited by marking wristbands — and vote.
Maria Macias, 39, of Arvada won the Top Individual category.
She said she learned the process of making tamales — which she has down to three-hours — from a friend from Mexico named Karina Lopez.
“When people tasted them they said, ‘Oh my goodness.’ So I feel great for my friend because she taught me how to make them and because I love to eat,” Macias said.
And for the third year in a row, Las Potrancas, 6610 Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada, won the Top Restaurant category.
Savina Lopez, another PTA volunteer, said people enjoy the texture and the flavor of the restaurant’s tamales and the chile sauce on top.
“The chile is really fresh, and there is not too much masa and plenty of meat,” she added.
The restaurant also won the People’s Choice award.