1st Annual WeHa Whiskey Festival set for Oct. 26; event will raise funds for two local charities

The Town That Cares Fund and Camp Courant have been chosen as the charities benefiting from the 1st Annual WeHa Whiskey Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium. The event is sponsored by Chivas Regal, Dewar’s, Hartford Advocate, Hartford Magazine, Knob Creek, Maximum Beverage, Radio 104.1 FM, and The Glenlivet.

“We’re very grateful the organizers have chosen us,” said Suzanne M. Oslander, community partnerships manager for the town’s Department of Human and Leisure Services. The department oversees the Town That Cares, a special fund that helps West Hartford residents experiencing a crisis situation that hinders their ability to pay for utility bills, food, shelter costs, medical expenses and other critical needs. More than 1,000 households received assistance from the Town That Cares fund last year.

“Partnering together on events like this does make a difference,” said McKinley Albert, director of development for Hartford’s Camp Courant. “It costs $25 per day, per child, a total of $750 for one child to go to camp.” The largest free day camp in the nation, the organization sends 600 Hartford children ages 5 through 12 to camp for six weeks, providing round-trip transportation from Hartford to the Farmington campsite and two nutritious meals a day.

Contributions from the community are needed to maintain both the festival is benefiting.

The trade show style event will feature up to 30 tables and 150 items for tasting, including various brands of whiskey, bourbon and scotch. Patrons will receive a glass embossed with the sponsors’ logos to use for tasting and as a keepsake. They will also receive gift bags and other giveaways. Radio 104.1 FM (WMRQ), a locally-owned station, will broadcast live at the festival.

“We’ve active with many charities, and we think this event will be amazing,” said Whitney Bonadies, emergency marketing specialist for Radio 104.1 FM.

Hors d’oeuvres stations will provide refreshments to complement the variety of spirits being sampled. Tickets are $79.99 per person in advance, and $99.99 at the door.

In addition to receiving a portion of ticket sales, the charities will benefit from 100 percent of the proceeds from fundraising activities that will take place during the evening, including a raffle, a silent auction and a restaurant battle.

Like reality TV, chefs from five local restaurants will compete to determine whose creation is the best. The battle is sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, and the recipes must include Jameson as an ingredient. Food tickets will be sold and whichever entree sells the most tickets wins the contest, earning an advertisement on Radio 104.1 FM.

“There’s an interesting story behind each brand, and we know there are people who want to learn about them and try something new,” said Seth Goldstein, managing partner of Maximum Beverage in Bishops Corner. “Whiskey is a growing category and the festival is an opportunity to educate the public while also raising money for some good causes.”

To purchase tickets, contact Maximum Beverage at 860-761-2541.

About the Town That Cares

Established 30 years ago, the fund subsidizes a variety of needs, including the town’s food pantry and seasonal activities administered by the Town, such as Thanksgiving food baskets, a Holiday Children’s Party with gift cards for parents, and a Back to School Backpack and School Supplies program that served 530 children this year.

About Hartford’s Camp Courant

Established in 1894, Camp Courant will mark its 120th anniversary in 2014. Round-trip transportation is provided from Hartford neighborhoods to the Farmington campsite in Batterson Park. In addition to swimming classes, a variety of recreational, educational, and cultural programs are offered as well as health and dental screenings. This summer’s classes included anti-bullying and personal finance.


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