2012 Food and Wine Fest a Great Success!

Great wines, great food, great people gathered for a great cause


Generous Cadets alumni, supporters and staff wined and dined at the fourth-annual Youth Education in the Arts Food and Wine Fest Sunday afternoon at Taos Restaurant and Wok in East Rutherford, NJ, and the event was a superb success.

"I think this is by far the best social fundraiser to support the Cadets," said Greg Pych, a Cadet alum, committee member for this event and long-time volunteer and donor. "It is also great value to the donor; great foods and over 60 wines to taste!"

We had a great turnout— as supporters perused the restaurant sipping wine and tasting endless trays of fine cuisine. The YEA! office staff and volunteers poured wine at six stations behind two bars, one upstairs and one downstairs. "If you think a YEA! wine tasting is about MD 20/20, you're sadly mistaken," said committee member John Wagner. "Two wines available for tasting at this year's event were rated 97 to 98, and most were in the 92 to 95 range, as rated by Robert Parker and Steve Laub. There was a broad selection of Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Petite Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and many others."

New Cadets Hall of Fame members, Brass Caption Supervisor Gino Cipriani and Color Guard Designer Greg Lagola, took a day away from the corps in Johnstown to attend the event. “I’m really glad I got to go,” Cipriani told other Cadets staff members on Monday morning. “It’s a really neat event and a really nice location.”


IMG_3157.jpg“As nice as the weather was outside, the good times flowed inside Taos Restaurant and Wok,” said committee member and former Cadet drum major Jim Messina. Taos was a wonderful host; the wait staff continually paraded through the crowd offering various plates of delicious hors d’oeuvres, including vegetarian stuffed mushrooms, assorted sushi rolls, mini crab cakes, swordfish dumplings and bacon-wrapped scallops. There was also a raw bar serving mussels, oysters, shrimp, crab claws, seared tuna and clams; and Taos arranged a gourmet buffet for guests to enjoy alongside the wide array of wine. Committee member Jim Messina is also the president of Ashley Farms, a company that makes gourmet food for fundraising events and donated the delicious cheesecakes, tiramisu and chocolate cake that concluded this year's event.

“The Guess the Best Wine Contest seemed like a fun addition to the festivities,” said Messina, who acted as MC of the results of the silent auction this year. “And there were more auction items than we had room for.” Twenty-five items were donated to the silent auction and raffle this year by Sally Roche, Joan Orcutt (mother of this year’s Cadet drum major, Kendra Orcutt), and event committee members Linda Vitale, Jim Messina, John Wagner and Greg Pych. Items included gift certificates to renowned local restaurants, bottles of select wine, a beautiful watercolor painting, Waterford crystal and a New York Yankees jacket.

New to the event this year was an assortment of hand-crafted gifts made by Linda Vitale, a long-time Cadets volunteer and donor. She made a beautiful quilt out of Cadet uniform parts from previous years which was auctioned off for $525 to a Cadet alum and long-time friend of the corps. Linda donated numerous handmade items to the silent auction, including golf club head covers, wine carriers, bags and makeup kits. She will also be joining The Cadets at Spring Training this Thursday to continue her hard work on the corps’ uniform alterations.


Half of this year’s proceeds will go directly into the Cadets Scholarship Fund in memory of Susan Erben, a Cadet alum, long-time administrator and director of development. The funds will help deserving Cadets pay their tour fees. This year’s silent auction and merchandise sales exceeded our expectations, and YEA! is tremendously grateful to all who donated to the cause this weekend.

“Great wines, great food, great people, and best of all, it was all for a wonderful cause!” Messina said.

Thanks to everyone who came out and to the office staff for donating their time to make the 2012 Food and Wine Fest such a great success!

Save the Date for next spring when the Cadets and YEA! family will once again join together for the 2013 Food and Wine Fest!


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