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Jane Napier Neely, La Canada Valley Sun

It was a spectacular autumn afternoon on Sunday, when more than 800 people came to Memorial Park to sip fine wines and sample gourmet foods at the 12th annual Wine and Gourmet Food Tasting and premium wine auction event. The gathering was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada, Le Petit Vendome, La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation Endowment Fund and the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce.

Dramatic cumulous clouds hovered overhead in a brilliant blue sky as diners and sippers wandered from booth to booth. There was plenty of time for chatting with friends and neighbors at the event, which culminated with a wildly energetic live wine auction to raise funds for the educational foundation's endowment fund. Bidding was fast and furious at the early evening auction, as guests egged each other on to bid higher and higher. There was a silent wine auction also going on. At the end of the day it was estimated that more than $80,000 was raised for the fund, according to executive director Deborah Weirick.

PHOTOS: 12th annual Wine and Gourmet Food Tasting

Keeping the vibe going throughout the afternoon was the band Ember and the Red Hots. Their repertoire was extensive and mostly classic rock, with a few other genres thrown in for good measure.Ember Vaughan, leader of the group, is the niece of Mary Gant, who co-chaired the event withClyde Hemphill.

The foods offered for tasting were delicious and people were raving about the eclectic choices. Among the food vendors were Stone Fire Grill, Dish Restaurant, Edible Arrangements, Frank's Famous Kitchen & Catering, Orchard Flats Cold Pressed Juicery, Rita's Ice, Sprouts Farmers Market, Claud Beltran & Co. – The Eatery, Flintridge Proper, Gelsinger's Amber Road, Jersey Mike's Subs, New Moon Restaurant, La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, Pepe's Mexican Restaurant, Hello Pizza, Panera Bread, and Gio's Bakery & Café, Thee Elbow Room and Dream Dinners.

Wines being poured for sampling were provided by Le Petit Vendome Wine & Spirits, Regal Wine, American Wine & Spirits, Undiscovered Wines, the Henry Wine Group, Wine Warehouse and Beer, Southern Wine & Spirits and Beer, Cardinal Rule Wines, Grape Street Unlimited, E & J Gallo Winery, Cellermaster Home Wine Making Club, Vigeron Imports, Young's Market Estate Group, and Young's Market Co.

Actually almost the entire Kiwanis Club membership was there to help out — more than 60 of them.

Among the people on hand to assist in too many ways to count were Mike Leininger, Chuck Terhune, Stewart Lee, Kyle Hara, Pat Anderson, George Lutes, Maria Drummond, Carl Christensen, Al Magee, Patty Prange, Bill Scherkey, Melinda Thompson, Skip Boyd, Pat Luangeaktrakul, Lynn Tran, Steve Ingrassia, Kelly Chamberlain and June Beemer.

Original Article