Wine and food connoisseurs will tickle their taste buds for charity this weekend as "Salute! A Festival of Wine and Food" returns to Lawrence. The fifth annual fund-raising event benefits Cottonwood Inc.
"Funds raised from this enhance people's lives," said Peggy Wallert, event coordinator.
The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. today at Pachamama's, 2161 Quail Creek Drive. Andrew Hoxsey, managing partner for Napa Wine Co., will treat guests to six wines that have not been sold in Kansas. Wines will accompany a five-course meal, with each wine specially chosen to complement each food item served.
The wining and dining continue from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. Attendees will be able to sample a variety of fine wines as well as food from area establishments, including Pachamama's, Hereford House, Marisco's, Paisano's and Stone Creek. The Chuck Berg Group will play jazz.
Saturday's events also will include a live auction led by Troy Keenan, vice president of the Premium Wine Division at Standard Beverage Corp., the corporation that founded and sponsored the event. Items to be auctioned include a golf game with KU head basketball coach Bill Self, wines donated from both Standard Beverage Corp. and private collectors and other wine-related gifts. Artist Mike Savage will watch the auction of his "Hawk With a View" from the Jayhawks on Parade, currently in front of Hereford House, 4931 W. Sixth Street.
New this year is an exhibit and sale of art created by retirees who benefit from Cottonwood's services.
Wallert said the event helped the organization promote its services.
"This is an opportunity for us to let people know what we do and learn about different supports and services available to people with developmental disabilities," she said.
Salute! helps Cottonwood pay for those services. The event's 500 attendees last year raised $44,892 for the organization. Contributions from the past four years total more than $175,000.
People helped by Cottonwood often receive money from the state and federal governments, but the money is restricted and doesn't cover all their needs. Cottonwood helps to fill in gaps by providing residential, employment, retirement and other support services.
Tickets to the Saturday event are $50 and include 20 sample tickets, a commemorative wineglass, wine plate, corkscrew and food from area restaurants. Of the ticket price, $15 is tax deductible. Tickets for today's event are $100 each. To buy tickets, call Cottonwood at 840-1604.