KOUTS | A large pink pig waved to passers-by Saturday afternoon at the corner of Main and Maple, trying to drum up business for Taste of South County, hosted by South County Love Your Neighborhood.
The first ever “taste” event saw five south county restaurants and food purveyors offering samples of their finest dishes in the shade of a large tent in return for donations to the Kouts Food Pantry.
“This is a new event this year to promote businesses in Kouts and to help the food pantry,” said Chris Birky, of Birky Family Farms and he founder of South County Love Your Neighborhood. “We’re trying to build this community because it has a lot to offer.”
Kathleen Mueller, of Hebron, sampled Birky’s blackberry jam and chips and salsa.
“I came so I wouldn’t have to cook,” said Mueller, joking. “I look for fun things to do. My son and grandson live here, so anything that Kouts promotes, I try to come.”
Diners also sampled stuffed green pepper soup and biscuits and gravy from the Koffee Kup, pulled pork and Italian beef from Birky’s Catering, cake and very berry pie from Birky’s Bakery, pork burgers, pizza, and ice cream from Piggie’s and Cream, and ice cold water donated by Family Express.
“It’s the Birky love fest down here,” said Birky. “We’re hoping for at least 100 people, but 300 would be good, too.”
Lynn Kizer said when she heard about the event, she became curious about how many south county restaurants there actually were.
She and husband, Ken Kizer, were pleasantly surprised.
“Isn’t this wonderful for a small town to do this?” said Lynn Kizer.
The Kizers, who were high school sweethearts before they broke up and went their separate ways, found each other again and married six years ago.
Ken Kizer, who has lived in Porter County for 35 years, finally settled in Kouts and likes to support the town’s events.
“This is the friendliest town I’ve ever lived in,” he said.
Birky formed South County Love Your Neighbor five years ago to benefit area nonprofits and has donated more than $17,000 to local charities.
The South County Love Your Neighborhood BBQ Cook-Off and Pie Baking Contest, the organization’s premier event, will be held Sept. 21. Entry forms are available at www.BirkyFarms.com. Tickets sold at the door are $9 for adults and $5 for kids 6 and older. Proceeds will benefit Morgan Township and Kouts schools and fire departments.