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Jefferson Rotary beer, wine tasting Saturday

February 7, 2017 GMT

JEFFERSON — Area residents can celebrate their love of fine craft beers and wines this Saturday night while benefiting the local and international projects supported by the Jefferson Rotary Club.

A dozen years ago, the Jefferson Rotary Club kicked off its beer and wine tasting, which morphed into a “Valentine’s Day in Paradise” event for couples with a big destination vacation as the main prize.

Now the event is returning to its roots, welcoming not only couples, but also singles and friends, to participate in a laid-back beer, wine, cheese and chocolate tasting Saturday night, with appetizers provided by Becky’s Occasion Catering.

The event is one of only a couple of major fundraisers for the club. All proceeds will go to support the four $2,000 scholarships the club gives to local high school students, along with the organization’s other projects, including its continued commitment to pay for the new bandshell at Rotary Waterfront Park.

Among other regular charitable projects, the Jefferson Rotary Club sponsors a Breakfast with Santa each winter for local Jefferson County Head Start youngsters and their families, and the Jefferson Rotarians recently have partnered with the Fort Atkinson and other Rotary Clubs to fund an international water project in The Philippines.

The water project involves extending a pipeline from Kalibo, Philippines, out to area villages, schools and daycares, providing access to clean water.

The Rotary Beer and Wine Tasting will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Jefferson Wool­en Mills/Jefferson Area Bus­iness Center.

Ellen Waldmer, co-president of the Jefferson Rotary Club, said that the club wanted to make a few changes to simplify its mid-winter fundraiser and make it more accessible to the community.

The event will feature around 30 craft beers, many from Wisconsin, along with other domestic beers, and about 30 different types of wines being assembled by Peg Bare of Wine and Roses.

Vetro Winery of Jefferson will be represented, along with Northleaf Winery of Milton, and a variety of other wines to suit a variety of tastes.

In recent years, Waldmer said, Bahama Bob had entertained at the Rotary Club’s “Valentine’s Day in Paradise” events, to go along with the island getaway theme. However, with the new focus, this year the Rotary Club will be bringing in Electro D.J.s of Watertown, operated by a Jefferson High School graduate.

At the beer and wine tasting, attendees may bid on donated items at the silent auction, and there will be a “drop bag” raffle in which people buy individual raffle tickets, then drop them in the bags next to the item they most wish to win.

Finally, there will be a 50/50 raffle, as well.

Tickets cost $35 per person in advance or $40 at the door.

That’s another change the club made this year, Waldmer said. The club had sold tickets as a “pair,” leading to confusion on how many people were coming and making it more difficult to gauge how much food and drink were needed.

This year, tickets will be sold individually at $35, and each ticket also serves as that person’s entry into a drawing for $1,000 cash.

Tickets are being capped at 250, but there are still some available. They are available from any Jefferson Rotarian or at the Jefferson offices of PremierBank and Badger Bank. People also may contact Waldmer directly for tickets or with questions at (414) 322-1440 or by email at ellenw1440@gmail.com.

There is also an event page on Facebook.

Waldmer said that the event has seen good support by area businesses.

“This is the first year we’ve gotten table sponsors, who include Lawton & Cates SC, Edward Jones, Jefferson Area Business Center and QPS Employment,” she said.

Vendor sponsors include Crystal Farms, Kraemer Cheese, Piggly Wiggly, Wine & Roses, Northleaf Winery, Vetro Winery, River City Distributors and Beechwood Sales & Service.