Clash of Titans: Hacienda Companies Compete at 2nd Annual Taste of Summer BBQ

Ten teams are busy prepping for the cook-off challenge that highlights the second annual Taste of Summer Hacienda Community BBQ taking place on Friday, May 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Hosted by Hyatt Summerfield Suites of Pleasanton, this long-awaited repeat event promises to be even more lively than its premiere in 2009. Corporate teams have a few new titles to compete for, while the entertainment line-up is longer and more diverse.

"We've added a new traveling trophy-the Taste of Summer Community Spirit Award-for the company that has the most employees, family, and friends attending the BBQ," announces Suzanne Lawless, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Tri-Valley Community Foundation, which administers Hacienda Helping Hands (HHH), the park's philanthropic campaign and beneficiary of the summer party.

The Community Spirit category was designed to encourage park occupants to attend and enjoy mingling with their neighbors. Says Jon Burchett, Director of Sales, for the BBQ sponsor, Hyatt Summerfield Suites Pleasanton, "This is one way for us to show our commitment to the community and help support an outstanding charitable campaign like Hacienda Helping Hands. We are looking to loosen the tie, relax, and get to know all of our corporate partners-while enjoying some great food and the start of the summer season." Burchett also remarks that, to his surprise, the BBQ is attracting interest beyond the business park, extending into the wider Tri-Valley - a definite awareness-builder for the Tri-Valley Community Foundation and Hacienda Helping Hands, he points out.

This year's cook-off has new challenges for 1st United Services Credit Union, which swept several categories last year, including the Best Team Overall. Ed Renteria, Chief Information Officer, reveals that the team has been plotting its title defense for "months in advance." He attributes last year's win to "a really good attendance from 1st United Services Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee, and staff," combined with "lots of practice for all events." It seems that having a Plan B is part of this year's strategy. Renteria, the rib cook, says he will "most likely" use a new recipe, but "we will also have a standby recipe waiting in case we need to switch quickly," he indicates, adding, "This is a really fun event for all involved and it's a way to raise money for local charities."

With San Jose Sharks announcer Randy Hahn as emcee, the repertoire of entertainment will include celebrity food judges, the Webber Brothers Band, a martial arts demonstration from Hacienda's own VIP MMA, carnival games and door prizes, a display of classic cars by the Good Guys, food, and the silent auction.

Then there is the mystery. Will some "angel donor" step forward as Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty did last year, and issue a $10,000 fund-raising challenge at the BBQ? "Who knows what will happen this year?" asks Lawless, answering cagily, "We'll see!"

There are also several opportunities to volunteer at this event. Volunteers are being sought to support the event in 2 to 4 hour shifts between 1 pm and 9 pm. Help is most needed between the hours of 1 pm to 4 pm for set-up of tables, decorations, games, auction tables, BBQ teams, food lines, drinks, signs and more. During the event, from 4 pm to 8pm, you can help manage food lines, assist with the sign-in, assist with the auction, replenish drinks, staff the Heritage House museum (which will be open during event) or assist with clean-up. A clean-up crew is also needed between 8 pm and 9pm. If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please contact Audrey Glafkides at or (925) 730-3862.

Opportunities for corporate representation are also available. If your company is interested in giving away company items during the event, please contact Audrey and your item will be included on a table.

For tickets and additional details, visit .

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