Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wine festival benefits Red Cross

August 7, 2008

The nonprofit group KC Cause is hoping for an evening of sophistication and fun by combining wine, art and a charitable cause.

Tickets for the first-ever Village West WineFest event on Oct. 4 are on sale, and with a selection of more than 200 wines and 50 beers from around the world, organizers are hoping the 500-person limit fills up fast.

"It's a fairly unique event for Kansas City, Kan.," said Jason Williby, executive director of the Kansas City chapter of the American Red Cross, the beneficiary organization of the event. "No other wine tasting like this has been held in other parts of the city."

The WineFest will be 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 at Chateau Avalon, a hotel in the Legends at Village West shopping area. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $100 for VIP admission, which includes a higher-quality wine selection and a special designated area on the Chateau Avalon patio.

With a circle of white tents surrounding the fountain in the front of the hotel grounds, guests can walk from one tent to the next sampling wines and learning about the different types from professionals who will be located at each table. A beer garden, featuring 50 beers, many of which are locally made, will be in a tent off to the side.

Williby said organizers wanted to keep the event small at 500 guests for its first year to enhance the intimate atmosphere of the evening. He said he hopes guest enjoy the evening strolling throughout the tents while listening to blues and jazz music.

To give the event a special touch, Williby said the event would also feature a silent art auction. Local artists can submit their artwork to a committee of judges who will choose about 100 pieces to be displayed and sold during the evening. Williby said the auction would hopefully set the event apart from other fundraisers, and that he hoped it would become an annual experience.

"We really think it's unique in the fact that it's a wine tasting, a beer tasting and an art auction," he said. "There's a little something for everybody."

There will also be three keynote speakers who will talk about various wine-related topics.

Williby said representatives of the American Red Cross were delighted when they were asked if they'd like the organization to be the beneficiary of the fundraiser. The donation will go towards the American Red Cross' general operating fund. He said the funds could be used toward local disaster relief and youth education in schools, which includes safe hand-washing practices, first aid and CPR training.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Web site villagewestwinefest.com.

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