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Taste, Rattle and Roll event returns for night of fun, fundraising without restrictions

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 7:17 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gulfport tradition that has benefited dozens of local businesses was back Thursday. With restrictions lifted, the Chamber of Commerce’s Taste, Rattle and Roll event had it all signaled progress in the community’s effort to return to normalcy.

Whether it was the music or the tasty treats, there was a little something for everyone as the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual fundraiser.

Last year, the pandemic caused the event to be canceled. With concerns over COVID-19 still in mind, organizers selected Centennial Plaza as the host for this year’s event, hoping the sprawling grounds would put guests more at ease.

“That was one of the beauties of having this venue. We could come out, and we’re outdoors,” said the chamber’s executive director Tracy Yanez. “There is a lot of space here. You’re not on top of each other.”

The event is one of the chamber’s largest fundraisers and the money raised is often used for small business grants, some of which have helped small businesses continue to grow over the last year. That includes Liz & Nomies Gourmet Eats.

“We were able to get funds from a grant the chamber funded last year, so it helped take my business to another level,” said owner Raven Allen. “So I am more than happy to do the same thing for another small business owner. It has been a great event.”

The fundraiser showcased that perhaps South Mississippi has finally returned to normal, all while highlighting some of the best places to grab a bite in Gulfport.

“It is really exciting when you have been an establishment for three to four years now and you still meet people who have never had Rackhouse or Half Shell Oyster House,” said Kelsey Griffin, the marketing director for Rack House Steak and Spirits. “We are really excited to give them something that we feel we bring to the table as our best appetizers or entrees. We love it and we hope to see them in our stores again soon.”

The funds raised from Thursday night’s event will allow the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce to host more events in the months ahead, as well as allow them to continue contributing to small business grants in the community.

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