The Rotary Club of Langley Central has most of the puzzle pieces in place for the Fraser Valley Wine Festival 2012.
There are a record number of wines being served (160) by 35 wine merchants, a record number of restaurants providing the always unique fare (six) and a record number of sponsors so that 100 per cent of the proceeds can be donated to charity.
There's one more record the club would like to break for the 23rd annual festival - attendance. Organizers would like to have more than 1,000 tickets sold for Nov. 3.
"Now what we need is support from the community," said David Taft, the wine committee co-chair.
Rotary decided to direct this year's proceeds to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation and specifically the Family Maternity Centre that's in the works.
Rick McMullen, who has lived in Langley since 1975, said he's attended almost every wine festival.
"I went to the first one at the George Preston Recreation Centre," noted McMullen, who is now the chair of the hospital foundation.
In recent years the festival has been held in Willowbrook Shopping Centre which can accommodate the large crowds.
"When I have [gone] I get to see a lot of people I haven't seen for a while," he said.
Others too liken it to a Langley homecoming.
McMullen said that despite the growth Langley has seen over the years, it's still a tight-knit community.
That's what has allowed the wine festival to raise a great deal of money over its 23 years.
"I think it's because it's a grassroots effort by volunteers," said festival co-chair Rob Martin, "And it's going back into the community."
The event runs 7-9: 30 p.m. and provides people with an excuse to dress up, socialize, listen to a variety of bands, and enjoy an array of wines and gourmet goodies by The Keg, Moxie's, Milestones, Earls, Rockford Bar & Grill, and Sammy J's. It's a formula that has been successful.
"This year we will have raised close to $900,000," said festival co-chair David Taft.
The local office of BDO Chartered Accountants and Advisors came in as a title sponsor a few years ago, committing to five years of support.
"Our partners and staff are committed to support various organizations and events and the wine festival is one which we enjoy working with as Rotary always has great organizations to support," said Paul Coltura, a managing partner of the BDO Langley office. "Over the past three years we have seen our contribution to this event go to very worthwhile organizations. This year being no exception."
The chosen charity fits in with Rotary's focus on helping kids at risk. Previous wine festival proceeds have gone to health care, the Langley Boys and Girls Club and other causes.
The hospital is in the midst of a campaign to create an $11.5 million maternity centre which $5.3 million from the hospital foundation.
"Timing wise it fit very well," McMullen said.
People can snap up tickets through the wine festival website (www. fvwf.ca). They cost $50.
"We're trying to make it an experience," said Martin.
@ Copyright 2013