Between 500 – 600 volunteers ensured the success of Santa Clara’s 34th Art & Wine Festival, a fundraiser for community programs.
Last year, net proceeds of $60,000 were distributed to the Police Activities League, Friends of Parks & Recreation, Santa Clara Schools Foundation, Wilcox and Santa Clara High School Grad Night Committees and the Senior Center Health & Wellness/Care Management Program.
“We’re eternally grateful to our volunteers. We couldn’t do the festival without the individuals and organizations all helping together,” says Jim Teixeira, Director of Santa Clara Parks & Recreation, which organized the annual fall festival Sept. 13 and 14 at Central Park on Kiely Boulevard.
“Each and every volunteer is important both to the organization they serve and to the festival itself,” says Teixeria. “They make the festival a success.” About 300 volunteers assisted daily.
Santa Clara Amateur Radio Emergency Services members were at information stations and roved throughout the 52-acre park, answering questions and communicating via hand-held public safety radios.
“The best thing is when you find a lost child and reunite them with their parents,” says Terry Hoffman, co-emergency coordinator for Santa Clara ARES.
Members and Friends of the Parks, and the Gillmor families, continued their 30-plus-year tradition of selling wine and beer glasses and beverage tickets.
“This is the one time a year that we as Santa Clarans can connect with each other,” says Lisa Gillmor. “It’s a reunion for us to see friends and neighbors, former classmates, and old-time Santa Clarans that have moved away and come back for this.”
At one of the four wine booths, Wilcox High School volunteers poured Bargetto wines. Opposite them, Santa Clara High School volunteers poured J. Lohr wines.
“We kind of compete for business,” joked Wilcox parent Lynn Aisawa. “I did this last year and it was so fun that I had to do it again.”
“I like that this is a hometown event and helps the community,” says Lynn Delucchi, who ran the Boy Scout Troop 394 pancake breakfast for four years. “It was great to volunteer. I loved it.”
Her son, Nicholas, now a college graduate, cooked sausages Saturday morning at his former troop’s pancake breakfast.
Santa Clara Boy Scout Troop 14, led by Scoutmaster Louie Ruiz and assistants Hassnain Malik and Mujtaba Ghouse, worked the Bike Watch Station, a free drop off area for bikes and skateboards.
“Volunteering is a very big part of Boy Scouts,” says 13-year-old Bilal, an 8th grader at Granada Islamic School, adding, “If you want to join the Boy Scouts, join Troop 14.”
Thirty-one community nonprofits sold food to raise funds for their special causes, many lining the sidewalk along Food Alley. The Santa Clara Women’s League sold pizza to help fund two part-time nurses at the Senior Center.
“It’s very fulfilling to help Santa Clara seniors in this way,” says Women’s League event co-chair Emily Adorable.
Members of the South Bay Church in San Jose, carrying brooms and litterbins, roamed the park sweeping up bits of escaped trash.
“It’s one way we can support and serve the community,” says Jeannie Fan, sweeping her way across Central Park with Don Philpotts, both visiting from a sister church in Atlanta.
“You can’t argue with sunshine and good wine,” agreed former California Polytechnic State University classmates Katie Groth, Leonice Lemke, and Mary Ellen DeHaven on Saturday, as they strolled with wine glasses in hand.
And you can’t argue with good music. The Joe Sharino Band closed the successful 2014 festival. Sunday, and everyone who wasn’t going to the 49ers game at Levi’s Stadium was packed into the main pavilion doing the conga.