Spring is in the air and with it we enter Jubilee season in the Fairfield-Suisun City-Rio Vista-Vacaville region.
Officials and an army of volunteers are gearing up for the 26th Annual Solano Wine & Food Jubilee to benefit NorthBay Healthcare’s Hospice and Bereavement Program.
It’s not a stretch to call the jubilee the premiere fundraising event of the year in greater Solano County, one that draws food and wine vendors from across the region for a night of food, drink and fun under a huge white tent near the Nut Tree shopping center in Vacaville, on the site of a former minor league baseball park.
The jubilee, though, is much more than the signature one-night event.
This year’s effort marks the inaugural Tour de Rustic Wine Country, a bicycle ride that gives riders of all abilities a chance to get some exercise, enjoy the beauty of Suisun Valley and raise cash for a worthwhile cause.
The Tour, which takes place April 14, is really a combination of three rides: a 10-, 20- and 65-mile loop. Each ride begins and ends at Solano Community College’s campus in rural Fairfield at 4000 Suisun Valley Road. The shorter ride remains local to the Suisun Valley region. The longer rides extend into neighboring Napa County, with the 65-mile out-and-back ride making the turn at Lake Hennessey.
There’s enough variety to appeal to families as well as serious cyclists, according to event organizers SV Events. Each course features aid stations. Mobile bicycle mechanics will be working the routes to help riders whose bikes break down.
Riders will pass by world-class wineries, local fruit and vegetable stands and some truly stunning vistas. The Tour coincides with a regular Suisun Valley event known as Passport Sunday, days that are designed to allow local winemakers to showcase their wines and their facilities.
Since these are rides, as opposed to races, there’s no reason why participants can’t stop at any of the interesting sites along the way, and even sample some wine if they choose to do so. Don’t overindulge, though. It’s just as illegal to ride a bicycle while intoxicated as it is to drive will drunk. It’s just not worth the risk to have more than a taste here and there along the route.
All riders must wear helmets, and comply with all traffic laws. Again, safety first, fun second.
Riders will be treated to a lunch at the NorthBay Healthcare Administration Center at 4500 Business Center Drive in Fairfield, just down the road from the college.
The first groups of cyclists will leave the college at 6 a.m. Passport Sunday activities take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a perfect pairing, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Both activities are fundraisers.
For information and registration for the Tour de Rustic Wine Country, call 688-6637 or visit www.SVEvents.com. For information about Passport Sunday, go to www.suisunvalleywines.com or call Wooden Valley Winery at 864-0730.
The Solano Wine & Food Jubilee takes place at 6:30 p.m. April 19. It’s a dressy, black-tie affair (no denim, please).
Aside from the food from what seems like a hundred area restaurants, and wine from just about every winery in the region, there’s music, dancing and drawings for various prizes.
The grand prize of the night is a $25,000 windfall offered by Momentum Auto Group, which can be used to purchase a Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata or a Volkswagen Passat – it’s the winner’s choice. A total of $10,000 in cash prizes will also be awarded in amounts of $125, $500, $1,000 and $2,500.
You can make arrangements to buy raffle tickets by calling 646-3133 or 646-3132. Tickets can also be purchased with a credit card by fax at 646-3135, or in person at the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation office at 4500 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.
You don’t have to be there to win, but really, why miss all the fun? OK, if you’re out of town that day, maybe, but if you’re here that night, you should go ahead and buy tickets to the jubilee to go along with your raffle tickets.
Jubilee tickets are available by calling 646-3133, or online at www.wineandfoodjubilee.org.
Fair warning: The raffle tickets are somewhat pricey. So are tickets to the jubilee itself. I can tell you from personal experience that the night is well worth the cost.
Again, this is a fundraiser for the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation, and proceeds benefit hospice and bereavement services that, God willing, none of us will ever need. The reality, though, is quite different. I bet most of you know someone who has benefitted from hospice care, and we can all benefit from bereavement services during times of great loss.
So as we enter spring, we can celebrate new life while at the same time honoring that part of life that comes toward the end, and the grieving that so often accompanies the end of life.
We can dine on some fine food, drink some fine wine, win some serious cash and maybe, just maybe, win a new car. Even if you don’t walk away with a prize, I can all but guarantee that you’ll enjoy yourself, and feel good about yourself as well.
We’re all winners when we take part in the Solano Wine & Food Jubilee, however we choose to do so, because of the vital hospice and bereavement services that are supported by the event, its vendors, its sponsors and its guests.
Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.