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All photos: Maria Gotay/QNS
All photos: Maria Gotay/QNS

Last Thursday, the neighborhood’s major contributors and vendors came together for a night of fundraising and celebration — the fourth annual Taste of Ridgewood.

Attendees enjoyed succulent bites and sips from neighborhood favorites as well as entertainment from a magician, a live band and several inspiring speeches from local leaders.

Donors and philanthropists of the neighborhood rallied to raise money for the YMCA’s annual campaign, which supports scholarships to allow every person, regardless of financial ability, to access YMCA programming. The price tag for the event was high (starting at $75), but it included an all-you-can-eat feast of dishes from Ridgewood favorites.

Standouts included the cannoli cups from Rudy’s Bakery, nacho bowls with pimento cheese from The Avenue, and roast chicken with beans and rice from Super Pollo, paired with refreshing beverages from Bridge & Tunnel Brewery, like their made-in-house black currant Kombucha and summery Berlinerwisse.

Through the night guests enjoyed entertainment from jazz group Mack Sings Band and magic tricks from Michael “Six” Muldoon, who had the crowd giggling with his interactive performance. The evening also saw the premiere a 7-minute documentary called “Life Though The Lens,” produced by local teens in a 16-week intensive course offered through the Y. The film showed strong and surprisingly wise teens sharing their view of life and the world.

One of the inspiring young people at the event was Bryce Donnelly who co-hosted the event and delivered a powerful speech. Though he’s only 16 years old, he has big dreams of becoming a Marine, and an architect down the line, and he said that the Ridgewood Y helped him shaped those big ambitions.

Joining him at the podium was state Senator Joe Addabbo, who imagined “the hundreds of thousands of youth” that might not have taken the right path without the Y. He praised the YMCA for providing a shelter and inspiring a generation of young people. “The Y is there to grab their hand and lead them to the right path,” he said.

The evening’s special honoree, Victoria Schneps, received a standing ovation while accepting her award for outstanding service to the community. Schneps, the owner and CEO of Schneps Communications, which publishes 20+ local outlets including QNS and the Ridgewood Times, thanked the neighborhood and community for its loyal support.

If you missed it, you can still donate over at the YMCA website.

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