Vero Vino Wine & Food Fest was a fundraiser to savor

Oenophiles gathered at the Heritage Center recently for the second annual Vero Vino Wine & Food Festival, hosted by the Unity Spiritual Center of Vero Beach, with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County and Little Birthday Angels.

“Last year was a great success and we wanted to add another recipient of the funds this year,” said event chair Susan Rane, commenting on the addition of Little Birthday Angels. “We are excited about being able to provide funds for both of these awesome organizations.”

Glenn Ferdinand is credited with conceptualizing the festival as a way to thank the Boys & Girls Clubs for providing assistance to his grandchildren after they were uprooted and came to live with him when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

“Glenn brought his grandchildren to the Boys & Girls Club in Indian River County because he worked full-time. It was a great experience for them,” shared Rane.

“These fundraisers are critical to helping us reach our goals,” said Elizabeth Thomason, BGCIRC executive director.

She noted that they recently added a teen director and a career counselor who works with members in conjunction with the school district to ensure they’re on track for graduation. Additionally, they are getting ready to build a stand-alone club in Fellsmere.

“It’s going to be a very busy year for us,” said Thomason, thankful for the support.

The second beneficiary, Little Birthday Angels, provides birthday celebrations for homeless children on the Treasure Coast. They host monthly themed birthday parties at local shelters, complete with gifts and all the trimmings, and provide birthday gifts and essentials to homeless students in area schools.

Guests didn’t have to be cognoscente of vino to fully appreciate the bountiful selection of domestic and international wines provided by Grind + Grape. Wild Thyme Catering laid out a generous spread of delectable tidbits to complement the wine selections without overpowering them and, for the literal icing on the cake, a table was laden with tempting desserts by Sweet Creations.

People were also kept busy musing over a selection of silent-auction items, nabbing wine-centric gift items from the pop-up shop, listening to relaxing mood music by the Stellar Jazz Quartet and taking on amusing new personas in a photo station.

Upcoming fundraisers for the two nonprofits include the March 6 Angel Dinner to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of IRC and the April 6 Crushin’ It fundraiser at Summer Crush Winery to benefit Little Birthday Angels. For more information, visit or

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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