Editor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for NEHDA and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center. As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.
On Thursday, August 18th, Laci’s Tapas Bar will be celebrating their 6th anniversary with a party that “pays it forward” to the Syracuse community.
Every year since Laci’s opened, owners Laura and Cindy have hosted a Give Back Party that benefits one nonprofit in Onondaga County. Leading up to the event, Laci’s organizes a nomination and voting process on their Facebook page, allowing all of their followers to select the year’s awardee. What does the winning organization receive? All of the proceeds earned through the event. Yes, ALL of the proceeds.
In total, the annual Laci’s Give Back event has raised over $70,000 for local organizations. Past winners include NEHDA in 2011, the Q Center at AIDS Community Resources in 2012, ‘Cuse Pit Crew in 2013, Helping Hounds in 2014, and, most recently, David’s Refuge in 2015. All of these past winners will have tables in front of Laci’s so visitors can stop by and learn more about how the Give Back Party helped support their work.
This year’s winning nominee is Purpose Farm: a free mentorship and animal rescue program that pairs youth that have faced emotional trauma and/or abuse with animals that have been rescued from similar circumstances. With David’s Refuge receiving $18,000 last year, the goal is to raise $20,000 at this year’s event.
Like past years, the Hawley-Green triangle will be closed to create space for the street festival—meaning that Hawley Avenue and Green Street will be filled with booths from local vendors. Live music will play in front of the former Laci’s Lunchbox, and a DJ will be positioned on the front porch of Laci’s Tapas Bar.
If you’re nervous about how far you will have to park and then walk to the event, don’t worry! This year, Laci’s has teamed up with CNY Cubby Cabs to pick up guests from their cars and bring them to the Give Back Party. Just like in NYC, visitors can call a Cubby Cab and be picked up and delivered to Laci’s in a bicycle-driven carriage.
At the restaurant, ticket holders will receive 5 samples of tapas and 5 samples of an alcoholic beverage, with the option to purchase a VIP scotch flight for an additional fee. While the $30 ticket gets you into this exclusive party, no tickets are required to stroll through the booths that create the Hawley-Green street festival.
Some Hawley-Green favorites, like Syracuse Soapworks, will have a vendor booth, and the Red Olive will be giving out free samples. Thanos Import Market will also be staying open late to let visitors explore their new space and sample some of their products. These vendors will be joined by nearly 30 other organizations looking to increase their visibility and support the mission of Purpose Farm.
While the cost of the event is absorbed by Laci’s Tapas Bar, they believe that bringing attention to the good being done in our community is worth it. Even simply through the nomination process, organization have the opportunity to boost their visibility and gain attention. The Laci’s Facebook page has nearly 17,000 followers—meaning that one post sharing information about a small nonprofit can get their mission in front of thousands of new eyes.
And that is the true purpose of the Give Back Party—to show support and showcase all of the amazing work being done in our community. To experience the party for yourself, visit Laci’s website to get your advance-sale ticket! Tickets will also be available at the door for $40.