The Dream Factory

Wine, food tasting helps make kids’ dreams come true
By Alicia Carmichael
Bowling Green Daily News
Sunday, April 04, 2004

Buying a ticket for The World Tour Wine and Food Taste won’t just benefit your appetite.

Proceeds from the event, which will be Wednesday at the Sloan Convention Center, will benefit The Dream Factory, which grants dreams to critically and chronically ill children.

It’s also a well-known social affair. More than 800 people attended last year and helped raise nearly $20,000, according to Donna Phillips, co-chair of the Wine and Food Taste

“We have people calling all year, asking, ‘When is it going to be?’ ” Phillips said. “They look forward to it all year. If you want to go and be seen, that’s the place to go.”

The tour will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Skip Bond and the Fugitives will provide entertainment, and door prizes will be given away. There also will be a raffle for a two-night stay at a John Q. Hammons hotel. Hammons owns the University Plaza Hotel and numerous other properties across the country.

Debbie Cohen is looking forward to the tour because she knows firsthand about the importance of raising money to see ill children’s dreams granted. In 2000, the now 14-year-old child Cohen considers a daughter – Paola Garcia-Bayer, who is paralyzed from the waist down by spina bifida – got to meet the Tennessee Titans through The Dream Factory.

“I know it was exceptional for her” to have her dream fulfilled, said Cohen, Paola’s legal guardian. “You could see this big smile or her face, and it meant so much to us.”

Paola said she will never forget the day she was whisked to Nashville to meet the Titans in a white limousine. Once in Nashville, she attended the Titans’ training camp and had lunch with the team.

“It was one of the greatest days of my life,” said Paola, a 14-year-old freshman at Bowling Green High School.

The Dream Factory is a non-profit organization based in Louisville.

Dreams fulfilled by the Bowling Green chapter, which has been here since 1987, include shopping sprees, installation of playground equipment, trips to Disney World, vacations for whole families, opportunities for children to meet their favorite music stars and a batting cage installed at one child’s home.

The local chapter is now working to fulfill a few new dreams in the 10-county Barren River Area Development District, including one child’s wish to meet President George W. Bush and another’s to meet Bette Midler.

“It’s so rewarding to see these kids have some kind of happiness, despite all the problems in their life,” Phillips said.

Sharon Brown, president of the Bowling Green Cave Country Restaurant Association, said about 40 association members are donating their specialties to the Wine and Food Taste this year because they want to support Dream Factory.

“It’s such a worthy cause, and everybody really enjoys themselves at the taste,” Brown said.

The fare at this year’s tour includes fare such as Indian cuisine, beer, barbecue and bourbon. Soft drinks and coffee will also flow freely.

Tickets to the tour are $35 and may be purchased at the door.

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