The fifth annual Southern California Tasting & Auction took place on Sunday at Cal Poly Pomona’s Rose Garden and Aratani Japanese Garden.
About 1000 guests gathered to help raise money for student scholarships and academic enrichment opportunities for the school.
There were 33 sponsors and about 60 tasting booths offering samples from different wineries, breweries, restaurants and bakeries in the community. Samples ranged from Irish bread pudding with a caramel whiskey sauce to Louisiana sausage and even pomegranate sake.
Most of the participants of the event were returnees from previous years, but there were several new restaurants and wineries that contributed.
New participants of the event included Dillon’s Restaurant and Irish Pub in Chino Hills who wanted to join the community and help the school out. The Marketing Director Lauren Debereux was so pleased with the event that the she plans to participate for years to come.
There was a Chef Demo with Owen’s Bistro Owner and Chef James Kelly where guests with special access bracelets could watch him prepare a meal.
Bang the Gavel Auction Service held a silent and live auction. Colleges donated items to be auctioned and the profits from them were donated back to the colleges.
Winning about a dozen auctioned items, Art and Sarah Ludwick explained how they were not new guests to the CPP event. They have been involved with the university for the past 30 years and have spent their married life making contributions to educational programs and auctions.
“We are long time supporters of Cal Poly. We love this event, but we are really buying items to put in another charity event, so two charities are able to benefit from our shopping out here today,” said Art Ludwick about the purchased items for the Los Angeles County Fair Association’s Fairplex Child Development Center. “It’s rare that you can have a dollar do good in two places.”
Ron Fremont, associate vice president of university relations, said the team in special events has done a great job with planning the Tasting & Auction.
“Every year it has grown; every year it has gotten better,” said Fremont. “We make a deal with somebody to have the best possible weather you can ask for. People come out just to have a glorious day on the campus at the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, eating terrific food, [enjoying] great wine and having a great time.”
Events and Auction Specialist Donna Holman put together the event along with her team of staff and volunteers.
“Really, the involvement does not stop,” said Holman in regards to the planning of the event. “It’s a yearly project. It’s just that from January to the day of the event, it is a little more involved.”
Students helped put the event together and followed CPP’s hands-on learning teaching approach.
“We have over 100 student volunteers,” said Director of Events Rachiel Lucero. “It’s a real learn by doing experience from the beginning of the planning stages all the way through to today and the wrap up later.”
This year, the Tasting & Auction had the most participants and guests. Executive Director of the Comprehensive Campaign for CPP Bob Balzer said the event has nearly doubled in size since it began five years ago.
“It has been very successful because it has brought people back to the campus that haven’t come back since they graduated, which is the whole goal of it, to try to re-engage alumni and it’s worked out very successfully,” said Balzer.
Lynn Reese, mother of two CPP alumni, was invited to the event by her two sons.
“I’m going to take home that I want to come back next year,” said Reese. “It’s awesome. I’m having a really good time.”