With chicken, ribs, chocolates and beer flowing like the Kansas River, area educators and business people gathered at Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's annual "Taste of Lawrence."
The chamber's fall mixer, which has celebrated Lawrence educators for nearly 30 years, welcomed more than 1,700 people to Wednesday evening's event at Meadowbrook Apartments, 15th Street and Crestline Drive, under a cooling summer sun.
"This is one of the few times the Lawrence community can really come together," said Adela Solis, a fifth-grade teacher at Cordley School and vice-president of the Lawrence Education Assn. "You can't help but smile."
Cathy Lewis, the event's coordinator and chamber vice president of membership, said the fall mixer provided Lawrence businesses and educators the chance to interact outside of a professional setting.
Twenty-five Lawrence restaurants and food vendors also showed their support for schools by feeding hungry crowds with favorites like steakburgers, burritos, chicken-fried noodles and chocolate truffles.
"This is our way of saying thanks to educators for all their hard work," Lewis said. "Now more than ever we want them to know how valuable they are to our community."
-- Kansas University journalism student Carlos Rodriguez can be reached at 832-7154.