SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Celebrities and current and former NFL players gathered at WestWorld of Scottsdale on the eve of Super Bowl XLIX for a night full of food, music, memorabilia, raffles, auctiona and, most importantly, one goal in mind: to kick hunger.
The 24th annual Taste of the NFL‘s “Party with a Purpose” featured a red carpet where celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, Miss America and a host of Pro Football Hall of Famers, among many others, took their time to speak with media and talk about the event.
“It’s something dear to my heart,” said 2015 Miss America winner Kira Kazantsev. The pageant winner, who represented New York, wore a diamond blue sapphire drop necklace in 18-karat white gold by Molina Fine Jewelers, which weighs more than 3.5 carats and features more than 6 carats of round diamonds. The necklace was raffled at the event to raise funds to end hunger, and it also included two tickets to the big game.
All 400 tickets for the necklace sold out before the night was over.
Also on the red carpet was Food Network’s Anne Burrell, sporting her famous blonde, spiked hair. The celebrity chef looked forward to trying dishes from all NFL cities.
“My travel and experiences influence my cooking,” she said.
Other stars who appeared on the red carpet were football Hall of Famers sporting their gold jackets, former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman-turned-filmmaker Simeon Rice, Miss Arizona Alexa Rogers, Taste of the NFL founder Wayne Kostroski, reigning WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Travel Channel star Adam Richman.
Former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow skipped the red carpet but was spotted by KTAR entertainment reporter Stacey Brooks.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane appeared with his wife, Joanne Lane, and welcomed guests to the event.
“We welcome everyone and want to make sure that in our prosperity, we’re taking care of those less fortunate,” he said.
He said Super Bowl-related events that have taken place in his city have created opportunities for business leaders to choose Scottsdale.
Guests sampled foods at several different stations representing each NFL team. Chef Beau MacMillan from Sanctuary on Camelback represented the Arizona Cardinals by serving up smoked fried chicken with bacon biscuits, kimchi pickle and red dragon sauce. The culinary repertoire included all types of food, including gourmet cupcakes.
Part of the event’s program included a “Cake Boss” dessert reveal by chefs Joey Faugno and Mauro Castano.
Live auctions preceded the night’s finale: country music group Little Big Town.
By the night’s end, the “Party with a Purpose” had raised enough money to feed one million people.