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Edible Lotus to benefit foundation, showcase local food

Bloomington knows The Lotus Education and Arts Foundation for its annual music and arts festival in autumn, but Lotus is out to showcase more than just music.

South of campus at nature reserve Deer Park Manor, patrons will be able to sample food and drinks from local restaurants, listen to live music and bid in a silent auction at the 15th annual Edible Lotus, the Lotus Foundation’s yearly benefit event tonight from 6 to 10 p.m.

“The purpose of the event is to raise operating costs to provide financial support for Lotus and Lotus Blossoms Educational Outreach,” Lotus Development Director Kristin Varella said.

Tickets for the event can be purchased ahead of time at all Bloomingfoods locations for $65 or at the door for $70. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

Once inside, guests are free to eat and drink as they please, where they can sample signature appetizers, beverages and desserts from more than 20 Bloomington restaurants and producers, such as Piccoli Dolci, Restaurant Tallent and the Irish Lion.

Two purveyors, the Chocolate Moose and Bloomington Brewing Co., will have special stations where attendees can get ice cream and a signature beer, respectively.

Bloomingfoods will also provide an extensive cheese and spread selection.

Though many purveyors have been participating for years, the Lotus Foundation also seeks to involve newer locations to not only help raise more money, but also to help bring attention to growing restaurants.

Rainbow Bakery, a vegan-friendly bakery that opened last fall, is one of these newer restaurants. Though it is not serving food at the event, it donated two $10 gift cards to be auctioned off.

Matt Tobey, co-owner of the bakery, said Edible Lotus “seems like pretty good exposure for new businesses.”

But the event has more than just food. Trio Birimbi, a band that performs Colombian and African music, will be performing from 6 to 7:45 p.m., and Lotus Artistic Director Lee Williams will be playing a selection of worldly music afterward.

A silent auction will also go on during the event, where guests can bid on local art and gift cards donated from local businesses, such as Hoosier Heights rock climbing gym.

For guests who want to use their hands for more than just eating, Lotus staff member and textile artist LuAnne Holladay will guide a station where guests can create a hand printed flag string from Lotus’s Power of Pattern.

“Lotus supporters will probably be familiar with those blocks,” Varella said.
Just as Lotus Festival shows off the diversity of music all around the world, Edible Lotus seeks to show diversity exists in Bloomington among chefs and restaurateurs.

“There’s a diversity that Lotus is known for, like restaurants and music, and this is a celebration of what Lotus is all about,” Varella said. “It’s a really welcoming, free-flowing event to celebrate the diversity of what our foundation is all about.”

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