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Brew it up at wine and beer fest

By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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Shop, drink and eat for a good cause Saturday, Nov. 5, when Seniors First presents the 16th annual Fall Wine & Brew Fest. From 5-9 p.m., The Ridge Golf Club and Events Center will be full of food, wine and beer tasting, along with live music, raffles and a highly competitive silent auction. “The event actually started off as a fundraiser of our executive director/owner in her backyard,” said Shea Cullen, Seniors First event and volunteer coordinator. Sixteen years later, Brew Fest welcomes nearly 500 people each year, and Cullen said it just keeps growing. As soon as attendees arrive, they are given glasses for wine and beer tasting, and start making their way around the vendors pouring wine, beer and sake, and restaurants offering food and desserts. “Once you get your ticket, it’s all-inclusive,” Cullen said. “So you can sample as much as you want, you can taste the food as much as you want.” And while you’re sipping and sampling, live music will be played by Memphis soul-groove band and Auburn natives Foxtrot Mary, and a silent auction will gather bids throughout the night for an array of prizes donated by local businesses. Annie Mikal, committee member and care coordinator at Always Best Care Senior Services, was in charge of gathering prize donations, and said this year the prizes are better than ever. Packages to be won include meals from several Auburn restaurants, a snowboard from Academy Snowboards, service from Cruiser’s Carwash and a one-night stay at Thunder Valley Casino, along with any others. “Massages, yoga classes, you name it,” Mikal said. “We’ve had all kinds of really great things being donated.” New this year is “Bubbles and Bling,” in which people purchase a champagne flute for $25 and receive a pair of studded earrings. Most are Silpada cubic zirconia, but a few sets will be natural diamond earrings from Roper’s Jewelers. There will also be a “Fashion and Fun” boutique, selling bags, jewelry, chocolates and olive oil. Mikal said she got involved with the Brew Fest this year because she’s new to Auburn and wanted to get involved with a community event, and also because Always Best Care works closely with Seniors First. “Seniors First is a pretty amazing organization and they do a lot for seniors,” she said. Services include door-to-door ride transportation, Meals on Wheels, information assistance, free home safety repairs and the Friendly Visitor Program, where volunteers spend time with isolated seniors in their homes. The Fall Wine and Brew Fest is Seniors First’s major annual fundraiser. “All the proceeds benefit Placer County senior citizens,” Cullen said. “Our goal at Seniors First is to help senior citizens remain independent in their homes for as long as possible.” Veronica Gonzales is operations director for Help at Home Senior Care, another non-medical in-home senior care provider. Gonzales has been involved on the Brew Fest committee for three years and said that as an organization, Help at Home feels it is a time to give back to the community and help the seniors who need it. Her job is to organize the food and wine vendors, and she said this year’s selection is impressive. “I can’t even say enough. All the food – it’s just overwhelming.” One of those vendors is Scott Kendrick, co-owner of World Pub and Little Belgium Deli with Eric Nordby. They’ll be pouring samples of several beers, and Kendrick estimated they’ll do 400 servings. The selection will include a wide selection of Belgian beers and golden ales. “We don’t do corporate beer,” Kendrick said. “We do all microbrews, and we just choose fantastic stuff.” Cullen said the Brew Fest usually raised $30,000 for Seniors First, but this year the committee has set a goal of $50,000. He emphasized that all proceeds will go to seniors, and the committee encourages the community to come out for not only an evening of fun, but also to benefit a good cause. “I think in this economy everybody is struggling,” Mikal said, “but seniors do the most because their incomes are fixed and everything is just dwindling. Keeping up with the cost of living, the cost of health care, is just unbelievable. Seniors are struggling a lot in this economy, and Seniors First has a lot of programs to help them.” Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------------------------------------------------ 16th annual Fall Wine & Brew Fest When: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 Where: The Ridge Golf Club and Events Center, 2020 Golf Club Road, Auburn. Cost: $42.50 at www.fallwineandbrewfest.com; $47.50 at the door. 21 and older only. ------------------------------------------------------ Participating vendors Restaurants: Bateman Senior Meals for Seniors First, Bootleggers Old Town Tavern & Grill, Cabot Cheese, Expressions Catering, Greenes Back Porch BBQ, Little Belgium Deli, Max’s Café and Deli, Old Town Pizza, Penguins Catering, Strings Italian Café, The Ridge Golf Club. Breweries: Anderson Valley Brewing, Lost Coast Brewery, World Pub, Nor Cal Beverage, Fox Barrel Cider. Wineries: Villa Fiorente, Bonitata Boutique Wine, Bronco Wine Company, Wise Villa Winery. Desserts: Power’s Mansion Inn, Gimme Cake Too, Sierra Ridge Memory Care, Auburn Ravine Terrace, Oakwood Village