Everyone loves a piece of cake, but cake for a great cause is even sweeter, and at Variety’s Let Them Eat Cake event, Philadelphians are really in for a treat. Now in it’s 17th year, this charitable extravaganza features an abundant amount of colorful and delicious cake creations, savory snacks, vendors, drinks and much, much more all while benefitting Variety’s mission to serve children in the Philadelphia area with disabilities.
“Variety is actually one of the Philadelphia region’s oldest children’s charities,” says Dominique Bernardo, CEO of Variety. “We are a nonprofit that serves children with disabilities ages 5 to 24, and our goal is to instill self-confidence to prepare them for life. We do that through a variety of after school programs, summer camps and our most recent workforce development program called VarietyWorks where we work to get young adults with disabilities into community employment so they can have a job that they enjoy working in and also financial stability and feel like that they’re contributing value to society and have meaning in that way.”
Variety has been serving the Philadelphia area for quite some time, in fact the organization will be celebrating its 85th birthday this year (“and what better way is there to celebrate a birthday than with cake?”) but it was the Director of Development, Harry Giordano who first brought this delightful event to the organization years ago.
“What I love about connecting Let Them Eat Cake with Variety is that Cake completely funds our VarietyWorks program which is about providing choices, job coaching and job placement to young adults with disabilities,” says Giordano. “To give you an example, Wawa who is a proud sponsor of ours and Nestlé Water are setting up a mini pop-up coffee cart which will be run by our VarietyWorks students that operate our mobile cafe in Montgomery County. We integrate our kids into the entire thing. On top of that, we use the occasion for our Direct Care Program, and what that is is we give durable medical equipment to children who can not get it through insurance. On Sunday, we’re giving a young girl with Cerebral Palsy an adaptive trike, so we really do try to incorporate Variety into every part of Cake.”
“The connection to Variety is that it’s a whimsical event,” adds Bernardo. “It’s about cake and fun and Variety is all about children. All the funds raised go directly to help Variety’s programs.”
2020’s theme was announced to be Mythical Magical Beasts and Creatures following 2019’s whimsical Under the Sea theme. The mystical cake creations will be judged by culinary professionals and folks of the industry, all of them are there to determine this year’s Best in Show winner based on taste, theme, aesthetic, creativity and use of ingredients. Additional awards are given for Best Tasting Cake, Best Design, Best Theme, Best Student Entry and Audience Choice Award.
“We’re fortunate enough to have three Food Network celebrities this year,” says Giordano. “We have Amissa Strauss from Confetti Cakes, she’s also appeared on ‘Watch What Happens’ with Andy Cohen and on NBC, Susan Notter the White House’s Pastry Chef and we have a local celebrity—Dan Langdon who has won ‘Cake Wars’ and ‘Cupcake Wars.'”
Aside from the incredibly unique sweet showcases, Let Them Eat Cake will also feature savory food options, vendors, live music and even spirits (think everything from Tito’s to Hendricks and all libations in between.) There will even be take-home containers for all guests to bring back their samples in if 25 pieces of cake in one night just seems like too much.
However, even though this event is lighthearted and fun, as with every happening lately, health-wise, safety is a main priority at Let Them Eat Cake.
“Please know that we have taken abundant safety cautions,” says Giordano. “We’ve changed how we serve the cake, feature the cake—we’ve really changed it all. Everything is served with glove service, we have removed any possibilities of any kind of health risk. We are taking those precautions so that everybody coming to Cake can feel safe.”
Let Them Eat Cake will take place this Sunday from 6 pm to 8 pm in the Loews Hotel Philadelphia Hotel’s Millennium Ballroom. Tickets ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) are available online and all proceeds will directly support children with disabilities in the Philadelphia area.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come and learn about Variety,” says Bernardo. “We do have a footprint in the city of Philadelphia and the greater region and we serve kids from all over. I think that most people are touched in their lives by someone with a disability and Variety serves children with any kind of disability, so we just really ask for any kind of support. It really is just a fun, family-friendly event.
For more information visit usvariety.org