By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Calvanese Foundation hosted their annual beer and wine tasting festival on July 9, where volunteers filled the Aqua Turf, serving hundreds of samples of beer, wine, and cider.
Musical entertainment by The Happening drew crowds to the dance floor between trips to the vendors to fill their sample cups, while vendors from Cork and Brew and Mickey Blake’s offered cigars, drinks, and accessories.
The room was filled with more than 30 tasting stations, offering hundreds of options and serving up to seven different samples per table. Eleven tables served a variety of wines, including samples from World Wide Wines in North Haven and a three-table selection from Hartley and Parker in Stratford.
Twenty-two tables served a variety of hard ciders and beers from Harpoon, Back East, Otter Creek, and Long Trail.
Dave Harrington, a ten-year volunteer for the Calvanese Foundation, said this year’s indoor event held a crowd of around 400, representing “a pretty diverse group of people.”
Though the event usually draws more than 1,000 patrons when held outdoors, Harrington said the festival always shows “a younger dynamic” than other events hosted by the foundation and offers veteran volunteers “a passing of the baton” opportunity to the many generations supporting charity in Southington.
Gloria DeFeo, who has volunteered at the festival for three years prior, said it offers a great opportunity for Southington residents to socialize and come together to support a good cause.
In addition to a long list of supporters and a room filled with light blue shirts for volunteers tending bar, including Rep. David Zoni (D-Conn.) and Town Council member Dawn Miceli, several local businesses also served food, drinks, and sweets throughout the event.
Back Nine Tavern, Caseus Cheese Truck, Ted’s Cheeseburgers, and Smokin’ with Chris stuffed patron’s beer-filled stomachs with a wide selection of entrees, while Sassy Mama Sweets satisfied cravings for dessert.
Smokin’ with Chris offered their cuisine from a food truck out front, filling the beer and wine fest with the smell of barbecue. The local restaurant has been a vendor at the festival in years past, and continues to support the Calvanese Foundation.
“Chris likes to give back to the community and support local events they way they support him,” said Samantha Prunier, an employee at the restaurant.
Alexis Sone, manager at Sassy Mama Sweets, said the cake shop was excited to participate in their first event with the Calvanese Foundation and thinks “it will be the first of the many.”
Sone said the festival offered the team at Sassy Mama Sweets a great opportunity to give back to the community and network with other business owners.
To fit the tasting theme, all the desserts they served were infused with alcohol. To support local breweries, they used drinks from Two Roads Brewing Co., in Stratford, and City Steam Brewery in Hartford.
“The event was a great opportunity to get more involved with the community,” said Sone.