The SanCap Optimists know how to party.
On Sunday, Feb. 23 from noon to 4 p.m., the Optimist Club will invite the community for an afternoon of food, wine, music and a silent auction at Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery. This marks the 6th annual "Sanibel Uncorked" winter wine festival, a fundraiser that has provided multiple four-year college scholarships for local high school seniors every year.
"We had two $6,000, four-year scholarships when we started this," said Optimist Club President Stan Howard. "Last year we grew to six."
Patrons enjoyed the outside seating at last year's festival.
For the last several years, Lily & Co. has worked with the Optimists to increase fundraising efforts and provide a beautiful, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the festivities.
"I think a lot of people don't realize what the Optimist Club does for the community," said Lily & Co. owner Dan Schuyler. "It's a lot of work to put on these events. When you have groups helping each other it lessens the burden and stress."
Local wine distributers, including Southern Wine and Spirits and Johnson Bros. Liquor Co., will select and provide a variety of fine wines for patrons to taste during the festival.
"Sanibel Uncorked" Food and Wine Festival 2014
Where: Lily & Company (on Tarpon Bay Road, across from Bailey's General Store)
Free valet parking will be available.
When: Sunday, Feb. 23, noon to 4 p.m.
Who/Why: Sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimists, providing four-year college scholarships from the proceeds.
Tickets: $30, $25 for designated drivers. Will be available at the door or call 472-0836.
All guests will receive a special, commemorative etched wine glass.
Silent auction items available for purchase.
"They're extremely knowledgable," Howard said. "They've supported us every year."
Samples from cooking demonstrations and complementary wine pairings will be presented by Matt Asen of Timber's Restaurant as well as other local gourmet chefs, including Karl Hamme of Bailey's Catering and Prepared Foods Dept. and James Jones of Sweet Melissa's.
Over 50 silent auction items have been donated for this year's cause, including a special magnum of Golden Bear red wine. The wine commemorates the 50th anniversary of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus' first win, complete with his signature and a certificate of authenticity.
"It's an excellent time every year," said Howard's wife, Dani. "The auction items range from dinners cooked at your home paired with wine, a luxury yacht cruise with lunch and champagne, and an airplane tour for four, just to name a few."
Lily & Co. typically donates jewelry, giftware and art each year in addition to their other contributions. Schuyler was thrilled to have the festival at Lily & Co. again. He continued to stress how much the Optimists do in the community.
"It's selfless service, they don't get paid to put these things on. We do these things from the bottom of our hearts. That's why we lent out this building and the parking lot."
Lily will provide a tent to enclose the parking lot where the festival will be held, with free valet parking available to all patrons. Each guest will also receive a complementary etched wine glass.
Schuyler thought this event may be the biggest yet.
"My wife works off island in the medical field, people are already asking her about it! I don't know how word got out."
The Festival will be Sunday, Feb. 23 from noon to 4 p.m. at Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery on Tarpon Bay Road, across from Bailey's.
A $30 donation ($25 designated driver) is suggested for tickets. They are available now at Bailey's General Store, the Sanibel Caf in Tahitian Gardens, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, and Lily & Company. Tickets also will be available at the door.
In addition to cash donations, the Optimist Club encourages anyone who would like to donate an item to the silent auction to call Stan Howard at 472-0836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.