Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BARC Celebrates La Dolce Vita with 10th Anniversary Taste of Italy

La Dolce Vita: BARC Celebrates

Taste of Italy's 10th Anniversary

Nearly 20 winemakers will participate in the Oct. 15 event

BROWNSVILLE, Pa. – Nearly 20 regional winemakers will compete Oct. 15 at the 10th annual Taste of Italy, one of the longest-running fund raisers for the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp. (BARC)

Tickets go on sale Sept. 1. As in years past, the Taste of Italy will be held in the Brownsville Sons of Italy, Frank Ricco Lodge 731, at 16 Race St., beginning at 7 p.m.

The evening features wine tastings, the gift of a customized wine glass and hors d'oeuvres plus the opportunity to participate in the balloting for the People's Choice Award or as the competitors call it, the "Last Box Charlie" award, which honors the late Charlie Britvich, one of five competitors who launched the event for BARC. Competing still today are Dick Quarzo, John Chan, Rich Dascenzo, Dr. Alan Sally and Britvich's children.

The longevity of the Taste of Italy has amazed winemakers and BARC members alike. "We have a core group of winemakers and they keep it going. We could never do this without them – they give away their wine," says Caroline Fecek, chairwoman of the event from 2001-10 and a key committee member for the Taste of Italy's 10th anniversary.

By the event's third year, Fecek says the Taste of Italy started to draw significantly larger crowds and more winemakers, including competitors from Pittsburgh. "Word of mouth" publicity brought 220 people last year to Brownsville for the annual affair. This year's goal is to draw a sell-out crowd to the 250-seat Sons of Italy hall, which was recently renovated as part of a major expansion project.

"There is good-natured competition among our winemakers. They want to keep it light so we do," Fecek says. "Every year, I'm humbled by the help we get from the winemakers, volunteers and sponsors."

Several sponsors are already on board, with more on the way, to show their support for the milestone year. To date, BARC has secured sponsorships from Brownsville Marine Products, Community Foundation of Fayette County, Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Resort & Spa and Woodlands Animal Care Center, Lunden's Flower Shop and Brownsville Ambulance Service. The wine glass sponsor is Carmichaels Golf Club.

Trophies will be awarded to winemakers for sweet and dry wines in the following categories: made from grapes crushed by the vintner; bought juice, including buckets; kits; and grapes mixed with other fruits. Six judges will award trophies during the event. Also highlighting the evening is the traditional auction of a basketful of wine – private labels from participating winemakers. Conducting the sale will be professional auctioneer, Fred Peters of Brownsville.

"My expectation is to continue what Caroline has built," says Norma Ryan, BARC director and the 2011 chairwoman of the Taste of Italy. "Having grown up with a family that made wine, it's very touching and special that these winemakers are keeping the tradition alive."

Taste of Italy tickets are $35 each prior to Oct. 1 and $40 afterward or at the door. Tickets are available by contacting BARC's office at 724-785-9331. The office, located in the Flatiron Building, 69 Market St., Brownsville, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For additional information or schedule an interview:
Norma Ryan, 724-785-9387

Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp. (BARC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to achieve economic development through historic preservation, heritage tourism, outdoor recreation, community stewardship, education, youth advancements and the arts. Contact the BARC office, 724.785.9331, for additional information about programs and upcoming events.

No comments: