By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
The Kiwanis Club of La Cañada held its 10th annual Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Park from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event raises thousands of dollars annually and benefits the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation Endowment Fund. An estimated 800 enthusiasts paid $50 a ticket to sample fare from the 25-plus restaurants, caterers and food specialty shops represented in addition to enjoying tastes of the wines, beer, tequila and ciders. The Lynn Keller Quartet provided a blend of jazz and blues music.
The Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada in partnership with the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation Endowment Fund, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Le Petit Vendome.
Guests had the opportunity to bid on several items, including bottles of premium wine, at a silent auction. According to organizer Mary Gant, the silent auction was a “huge success” because of the generosity of the many merchants, members, and the L.A. County Fire Department under the direction of Kiwanis member Patti Prange.
A live wine auction by the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Endowment Fund was also well attended.
The idea of the fundraiser was developed about 11 years ago resulting from a visit to Mill Valley where Gant attended a wine and gourmet food tasting. After returning to the foothills, Gant and fellow Kiwanian Clyde Hemphill organized a simpler event.
Gant recalled that the initial wine and gourmet food tasting had an attendance of about 300 people. She said that the Kiwanis Club had to purchase much of the wine and beg restaurants, caterers and food vendors to participate. Since 2003, the event has evolved into a highly anticipated event that this year hosted about 100 more people than last year.
An event of this magnitude is impossible without help and Gant said thankfully there was plenty of it.
“It is impossible to name all of the Kiwanis members who participated as there were so many of the 98-member club who planned and worked the event from set-up to tear down,” she said. “It is a real team effort.”