The inaugural Auburn Food and Wine Festival will be held on June 22, benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County.
The festival, hosted by Christine’s Unlimited and Alabama Crown Distributing Co., will feature live entertainment, 150 different wines, food from 20 restaurants and a selection of beer and spirits, according to Auburn and Opelika Tourism Bureau’s website.
Restaurants include Lucy’s, The Hound and Amsterdam Cafe, among others, providing guests a taste of all Auburn has to offer.
“Coming from the hospitality business, I know that people like to go out and socialize,” said Josh Nagel, festival co-chair and sommelier. “Auburn is a small town in a small, tight community and the folks in the area like to mingle with each other.”
All proceeds from ticket, raffle and apparel sales will go directly toward the Boys and Girls Clubs, which is nearing its 30th year in Lee County.
“This is a 100 percent nonprofit event,” Nagel said. “I do like that the Boys and Girls Clubs is for the young people of our area, and helping kids is obviously a really important thing for us, so that’s why I’m really encouraged to be partnered with them.”
Betty Burns, resource development director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County, said she hopes to increase brand awareness and clear misconceptions about how the organization receives funding.
“I think a lot of people think that we are a federally-funded program,” she said. “We’re not a federally-funded program. We rely on grants, foundations, local donor dollars and events like the Auburn Food and Wine Festival to raise funds in order to keep our doors open.”
The money raised from this event will largely help fund the organization’s summer programs, Burns said.
“During the summer, we’re open for a full-day summer camp,” she said. “We’ll be serving over 16,000 meals this summer to children so we can try to help address some of those food insecurities that we still have in Lee County.”
While there have been similar festivals in the area, Nagel said this is the first of its kind to incorporate the entire community.
“I would say this is the first (festival) that’s tried to bring the community as a whole together,” he said. “I think it’ll bring a lot of people together during a time that Auburn really needs something like this.”
Burns said she is grateful for people like Nagel and Christine Healey, the festival’s other co-chair, for helping promote Lee County’s Boys and Girls Clubs.
“It’s going to be a super fun event,” Burns said. “We are thankful to have people like Christine and Josh who realize the importance of what we do in our community and do what they can to help us out.”
Tickets are currently on sale, and Nagel said they hope to sell most of the tickets prior to the event.
“We’re encouraging as many people to buy them ahead of time as possible. But if we do not reach our allotted ticket amount, then you will be able to buy them at the gate,” he said.
General admission tickets, which include all samples of food and wine, cost $105. Food-only tickets are available for $55.
The event will be held at Twenty-One Acres on Wire Road from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information on the festival, visit auburnfoodandwinefestival.com.