The 28th annual Chefs Food Fest took place Thursday, June 11 inside the Aquarius Pavilion at the Aquarius Casino Resort. It’s a special time when locals and visitors enthusiastically gather for amazing food and fun! This event is sponsored by the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce as a big fundraiser to benefit the River Fund Inc., which helps struggling families in the area. It’s a sellout every year and this year’s 700 attendees were hosted as well as raising $6,000 through the auction held at the end of the evening. An additional $15, 000 donated by the Laughlin Chamber made for a combined total contribution of $21,000 for the local charity.

The event’s first ingredient is chefs from around the tri-state area and Laughlin hotels coming together in a friendly competition to showcase their talents and creativity and win best food and best booth traveling trophies voted on by attendees. There is no dedicated theme so the goal is to present a wow factor, which all the booths surrounding the perimeter walls of the large hall master beautifully. This year the “Best Booth” award went to Harrah’s Laughlin and the “Best Food” award went to Bumbleberry Flats.

Guests get their exercise going to each booth for a new big plate of food and tasting. The trick is returning to your table if you can find it. Table rounds of 10 consume the center of the room and it’s easy to get lost. Guests sample appetizers, entrées, desserts, and drinks prepared by chefs from Laughlin casinos and food and wine distributors. The food is impressive and an introduction to food establishments you might not know about. A program outlines the food at each station so it’s worth a study. Tickets were $50 so it really was a win-win deal for everyone to raise money, enjoy outstanding food and good camaraderie.

After enough time to mingle and dine, there was a live auction with 38 enticing offers such as dinner, show, event and tour tickets; photography; boat cruise; and stay packages to raise more money.

The first Chefs Food Fest was actually held in October so the overall theme was naturally harvest time, which meant carved pumpkins and fall food items. A few years ago, the Laughlin Chamber repositioned the event to summer, eliminating the distinctive theme and giving more river visitors a chance to experience the culinary side of Laughlin.

Already the exhibitors will start preparing for next year and so should you because it’s a hot ticket. This event really captures the champion spirit that is a Laughlin trademark.