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Dough-not miss the Amherst Dessert Crawl

(Collegian File Photo)

Imagine the familiar smell of baked goods mingling with the sensation of warm spring sunshine as it dances along the sidewalk. Now visualize freshly glazed doughnuts paired with creamy frozen yogurt, sprinkled with vibrant fruit toppings. “Where does this decadent utopia exist?” you find yourself wondering.

Wonder no more. This sweet tooth sanctuary is the main event of the fourth annual Amherst Dessert Crawl this Saturday, April 22 from 1-4 p.m. in downtown Amherst, featuring 10 different desserts for only $10 a person.

This deliciously saccharine event is sponsored by the University of Massachusetts chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, the only gender neutral national honor fraternity in existence, to help raise money for the nonprofit Reader to Reader, an organization “dedicated to expanding literacy and learning opportunities for the nation’s most chronically undeserved and vulnerable communities.”

The vision for Reader to Reader began when David Mazor – a doting father and independent film distributor turned executive director – was visiting his daughter’s university. Much to his dismay, budget cuts had left the school unable to regularly purchase books. This discovery sparked Mazor’s passion and awareness for the importance of literacy and the lack of it around the world. It continues to fuel his excitement for events like Dessert Crawl.

Proceeds from the event will help literacy development all over the world by covering the cost of learning materials for underprivileged students and helping to front the cost of building important educational facilities like public libraries.

Mazor anticipates about 500 participants in this year’s event – putting it at maximum capacity. Mazor believes the event adds a special contribution to the Pioneer Valley because of its ability to bring people together to enjoy decadent desserts in the day time hours that they might not be exposed to normally.

Not to mention, it fosters care for both small local businesses and the consistently prevalent problem of stunted children’s literacy.

He added that he feels it is a unique fundraising event because “unlike a run, you’re not going to be exhausted,” with the exception of a dessert-induced coma, that is.

Participating restaurants this year include: Bertucci’s, Chez Albert, Fire and Water Yoga & Juice Bar, Glazed Doughnut Shop, GoBerry, Henion Bakery, Insomnia Cookies, Malek Shawarma Mediterranean Café, Paradise of India, and finally, Tandem Bagel Company.

The majority of locations on this lengthy list of stops typically sample different desserts every year, so there’s an element of surprise in what you can expect to be taste testing. Participating locations will also remain open throughout the day for regular business hours.

Mazor spoke fondly about the event and Phi Sigma Pi’s outreach efforts in getting people involved in a way that the Reader to Reader organization would fail to do alone because of their small size.

Tickets are currently available at A.J. Hastings, Phi Sigma Pi at pspumass@gmail.com, and the Reader to Reader organization at the Cadigan Center at Amherst College in downtown Amherst. Tickets will also be sold the day of the event in limited quantities outside the Amherst Visitor Center around 1 p.m.

The crawl will begin at Bertucci’s. The start times are staggered from 1 to 2 p.m. to assure that every participant can fully enjoy each sugary stop along the way without the unpleasantness of overcrowding.

Needless to say, this event is a flan-tastic way to get involved in the community, binge eat some tasty treats and support children around the world in their pursuit of better education. You do-nut want to miss this!

Editor’s note: Assistant Arts Editor Madeleine Jackman, who is a member of Phi Sigma Pi, did not contribute to this report.

Gina Lopez can be reached at gmlopez@umass.edu.

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