Foodies and oenophiles filled the Heritage Center at the inaugural Vero Vino Wine & Food Festival hosted by the Unity Center of Vero Beach, with a majority of proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County to help fund its programming and after school scholarships.
The Indian River Charter High School Wolves Jazz Ensemble kept the energy level high as festival-goers sipped their way through the dazzling roster of domestic and international wines selected by Varietals and More and craft beers from Walking Tree Brewery, each chosen to enhance the dining experience when paired with gourmet dishes from Wild Thyme Catering and Sweet Creations.
“This was about giving back to the community,” said Susan Rane, event chair. “We’ve got all these wonderful festivals in Vero and we wanted one that kicked off the season.”
Rane said the idea for the fundraiser came from Glenn Ferdinand, one of the event organizers.
“His family lives in New Orleans and right after Katrina he had to bring his grandchildren to live with him. He works full time, so he needed a place for them to go,” she explained, adding that the Boys and Girls Club filled that need and has held a special place in his heart ever since.
“It was very thoughtful of them to think of our charity; there are so many charities in this county,” said Elizabeth Thomason, BGCIRC executive director.
“For a first annual event, the attendance is unbelievable.”
Guests also got a head start on their holiday shopping as they bid on silent-auction items and perused offerings in the wine-centric pop-up shop, which offered wine glasses, jewelry, reusable wine caps, ornaments and more.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of IRC and its upcoming Angel Dinner fundraiser on March 7, visit bgirc.org.
Photos by: Gordon Radford
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