WINDERMERE For the last four years, the Windermere Wine and Dine has been met with success.
In fact, with tickets already completely sold out, the 2017 Windermere Wine and Dine taking place on Jan. 28 is expected to reach new heights.
“We’ve grown exponentially from our first year when I hoped we would just have enough restaurants,” said event Chair CT Allen.
The Windermere Wine and Dine was originally created as a Mustang Foundations fundraiser for the Windermere Elementary School. But as interest increased in the fundraiser, Allen decided to take it to the next level and open it up to the town of Windermere.
“We made it into a Windermere event to include all of the different committees and charities,” she said.
And because of the size of the event, it takes everyone’s effort to pull everything together, Allen said.
Board members from Windermere Elementary’s Mustang Education Fund organized the event’s silent auction. Town council members have volunteered to set up tables and chairs on the morning of the event. And cooks from more than 20 restaurants will prepare food for more than 800 people.
“The town has really wrapped their arms around this,” Allen said. “People are now coming to us to be a part of it.”
All the money raised during the Windermere Wine and Dine is given to the town and distributed to a variety of beneficiaries. This year, that list includes the Mustang Education Fund, the Windermere Historic Preservation Board, the Windermere Tree Board, the Windermere Parks and Recreation Board and the Windermere Police Foundation.
Allen said that she expects to surpass the $100,000 mark this year, which would be a first for the event.
At the inaugural Windermere Wine and Dine, about 400 people attended and 15 restaurants participated.
Last year, about 650 people attended and 24 restaurants participated.
On Saturday, an estimated 800 people are expected to attend the event and 29 restaurants will be participating. This year will also have the largest silent auction the event has ever had, with more than 200 items up for bid.
“It is a five star event,” Mayor Gary Bruhn posted on the Windermere Wine and Dine website. “And the people you will meet are neighbors, executives, friends, CEOs, volunteers, board members, elected officials and most importantly, people who not only enjoy great food, wine and fellowship, but will spend money to let our young students have the technology that will let them lead us in the years to come in science, technology, engineering and math.”
It’s an event run by the community, for the community.
“It’s just such a nice thing that so many people have come around this and help us put this on,” Allen said. “Everybody loves this event.”
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].