Using the machines set up in his shop, Patrick Bullard builds one-of-a-kind pieces of metal artwork, including lawn and home decorations and commemorative displays.

“My wife says I’m going to run out of wall space,” Bullard said as he gestured toward all the pieces displayed in his workspace. “I told her there is still plenty of room behind the RV.”

Bullard recently put together a chairlift-inspired bench and several smaller pieces to be donated to the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce event, the Bite of Mt. Hood.

It’s how he gives back to the community.

Bullard and many other local entrepreneurs give their work and products to be auctioned at the Bite of Mt. Hood, which draws visitors from far and wide to support the tourism-based economy of the villages of Mt. Hood.

The Bite of Mt. Hood will be held this year from 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at The Resort at The Mountain’s Cascade Ballroom, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches.

This is the fifth year that the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce is holding the event, and through the years the event’s popularity has only grown.

After watching attendance to the event quadruple — nearly 800 guests attended last year — volunteers have arranged for additional seating this year.

Coni Scott, Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce president and chairwoman of the event, said The Bite is always a lot of fun. “It’s like a great big family reunion,” she said. “There’s always lots of hugs.”

The Bite of Mt. Hood features foods prepared by chefs in the Mt. Hood area and a musical program by Brady Goss.

Scott said this year, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the area will assist at the event by busing tables and selling water. Any proceeds they make will be theirs to keep.

In keeping with tradition, silent and oral auctions will happen under the direction of auctioneer Tom Anderson, owner of Rendezvous Grill.

Last year, nearly 200 items, everything from baskets of products to metal art to plants, were offered during the silent auction. Almost 50 items were auctioned orally.

Bullard has donated more than $5,000 worth of metal art pieces to be auctioned off over the past three years, and he will continue to contribute this year.

A retired teacher of five years, Bullard creates metal sculpture for inside and outside display as a hobby. He creates his one-of-a-kind pieces out of his garage and does not usually sell them.

“It’s how I can give back to the community,” Bullard said.

Every year to go along with the auction activities, Mary Ann Coyle coordinates a food drive to benefit the neighborhood missions program of Hoodland Lutheran Church.

Last year, the food drive collected $1,000 worth of food that was donated by the case.

Any food collected at the event goes toward the mission’s food pantry that supplies food boxes for families in need.

But stocking the food pantry isn’t the only way to help the community. As a tourism-based area, the Mt. Hood villages benefit from The Bite. Attendees come from all over to stay overnight on the mountain and enjoy the yearly event, Scott said. It’s an event that Scott says puts heads in beds.

“The lodging community of over 400 welcomes tourists to the Mt. Hood area and The Bite of Mt. Hood,” she said.

“Many people are very loyal to the event, but new folks are added every year.”

Tickets are $5 and are available for pre-purchase at all Clackamas County Bank locations or at the door.

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