A full house celebrated the El Dorado Art & Wine Festival at the Main Exhibit Hall of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville on Jan. 19. Thanks to a strong partnership between Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises, Inc and the Kiwanis Club of Placerville, the event’s 10th year once again saw a large turnout fill every table, and every coffer as the two organizations attempted to raise money for their respective causes.
“It’s really gratifying that the community comes to the party; it’s so huge that they show up,” said Placerville Kiwanis President Lori Warden. “The support we get in the community is amazing. I’m happy to know we live in such a great place.”
The Art & Wine Festival featured samplings of food and drink from several local breweries and wine and food vendors. Attendees — which included several county supervisors, some even working the event as volunteers — ate, drank and generally were being merry as they mingled amongst each other in celebration.
“The movers and shakers of the community have come out, along with other non-profits,” said MORE Executive Director Susie Davies. “The diversity of the group here with community leaders is incredible.”
Davies said the beauty of the event is the networking. People involved with the function, whether as a vendor, attendee or volunteer, end up using MORE clients in work capacities after.
“So many people come and support MORE,” she said. “Vendors and wineries hire our folks. Everyone here connects with us in different ways, whether they use our shredding services or janitorial, or hiring our people — all our spectrum of services gets used by guests here tonight.”
The Art & Wine festival had a silent and live auction, but what made it unique was the “Something MORE Gallery” pieces on display and for sale throughout the night. The exhibition housed unique works created by artists of the Something MORE Creative Arts Program. Paintings and other forms of art created by the individuals with disabilities from MORE were hits with the crowd.
“The gallery is so important,” Davies said. “It makes people aware of their talents. What they do with art is from the inside. There’s no training.”
The work to put on the event started a month after last year’s ended. MORE, which provides a spectrum of services for adults with disabilities, and Placerville Kiwanis, which sponsors several local high schools and raises funds to benefit children in the community, at one time put on separate, but similar events. The decision to combine their efforts for a super party was an easy one, as the value of both organizations working together increased the success of the event.
“Our partnership has made this event what it is,” Davies said. “It’s a good example of what a good partnership is. We couldn’t do this without Kiwanis.”
“Our partnership gives their members a framework to give back to the community,” Warden said. “This gives them the power to do that. It gives them the opportunity to learn something new and surprise people.”
Placerville Kiwanis — who uses its portion of money raised to fund projects like the proposed play structure to go in at Duffey Park, and for scholarships available to high school students — uses the event not only as a fundraiser, but for community awareness.
“We want people to know who Kiwanis is,” Warden said. “We need to let people know we’re here and put the word out. If you’ve got a mission, we’d like to hear from you. We all need to step out and do something in our community.”
Contact Patrick Ibarra at 530-344-5066 or [email protected] Follow @PIbarraMtDemo.