Fall Wine and Brew Fest ‘classy’ event

Money raised helps seniors stay independent
By: By Leah Rosasco Journal Correspondent
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Fall Wine and Brew Fest

What: Fundraiser for Seniors First

When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: The Ridge Golf Club and EventsCenter,

2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn

Cost: $35 pre-sale/$40 at the door, $25 designated driver admission

Information: For tickets or more information, call Shea Cullen at Seniors First at (530) 889-9500, ext. 232, or visit

A fundraiser that showcases local food, wine, and beer returns to The Ridge to benefit independent living for senior citizens.

Seniors First, a nonprofit organization that provides services to Placer County seniors, will host its 17th Fall Wine and Brew Fest to benefit its programs. Seniors First Executive Director, Candace Roeder, said the Fall Wine and Brew Fest has grown from a small backyard barbecue at her home to today’s popular fundraiser.

“I think we had maybe 100 people at the first one and we cooked bratwursts on the barbecue and played volleyball,” Roeder said. “It was much more of a family-type barbecue.”

Initially hailed as the Brew Fest, Roeder said wine was eventually added to accommodate those who don’t drink beer, and a large selection of desserts and a chocolate fountain have been added to accommodate those who don’t drink alcohol.

“It is now a much more mature event, 21 and over, but we really like the direction it has taken,” Roeder said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Funds raised by the event are used to support the services Seniors First provides, including food delivery to homebound seniors, transportation to and from medical appointments, home repairs for low-income senior homeowners, and assisted-living placement services. In all, the organization offers eight different programs aimed at helping seniors to live independently.

“Most of the people we hear from feel alone and overwhelmed,” Roeder said. “We have the resources to help them get the assistance they need.”

Although Seniors First relies largely upon grants and donations to keep their programs running, Roeder said funds raised from the Fall Wine and Brew Fest are critical to maintaining the level of service provided by the organization because they are not allocated for specific uses.

“We really appreciate our grants and donations, but the benefit of these funds is that we can use wherever we feel there is the greatest need,” Roeder said.

In addition to providing in-home services, Seniors First operates nine Senior Cafes throughout Placer County that give seniors a place to gather for a hot meal. Ron Langill, 84, of Weimar, said he has eaten lunch at the Senior Café in the DeWitt Center nearly every day for the past 10 years.

“It’s pretty good,” Langill said. “Without this place I’d have to go to McDonald’s every day.”

Tom Odom, 53, of Ophir, said he has been riding the bus to the Senior Café for the past year to get a good lunch.

“If I wasn’t here, I’d be sitting at home,” Odom said. “It gets you out of the house and it’s good to get out of the house.”

According to Shea Cullen, marketing and event coordinator for Seniors First, the organization’s programs, such as Meals on Wheels and the Senior Café, often provide seniors with their only contact with the outside world.

“Our clients are very isolated and very much in need,” Cullen said. “Sometimes our volunteers are their only social interaction for the day, and sometimes the meal we provide is their only meal.”

Cullen said if people are looking for something fun to do he hopes they will consider supporting Seniors First by attending the Fall Wine and Brew Fest. With a ticket price that includes all-you-can-eat food, provided by nine of the area’s most popular restaurants, a live band, dessert, and drinks, Cullen said the event is a “good deal.”

“It is a really classy event and it’s for a great cause,” Cullen said. “Once you buy your ticket it’s time to relax and enjoy yourself.”