Rotary swings into new event

Wine fest June 22 to benefit purchase of ADA compliant swing

When Washington Township Rotarians speak the words “Service above self,” they are sincere.

On June 22 from noon to 6 p.m. at Washington Lake Park, the Washington Township Rotary will host its inaugural “Sippin’ Away Again” Wine Festival. Tickets can be purchased online at wtwinefestival.com for $15 before the event, at the gate for $20. A rain date is set for June 23 at the same time and location.

Rotarian Maureen Pasternak said this is the first time the Rotary is hosting a wine festival, but it has 10 years of experience in wine tasting events. She, alongside fellow Rotarian Joe Matusiak, came up with the idea to bring a wine festival to Washington Township.

“We’ve been researching them for three years,” Pasternak said. “Joe goes to a lot, I go to a lot. He came to me and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do the wine festival in the park as a fundraiser for Rotary?’ We thought it was a great idea. When there was no permit applied for this spring, we went and did it.”

Pasternak and Matusiak are no strangers to fundraising. According to Matusiak, they have raised more than $150,000 in the last 10 years between the Washington Township Scholarship Foundation and the Rotary.

For the wine festival, however, the two are aiming to raise $30,000 for the inaugural event. The proceeds will go back to Washington Lake Park with the intention to install an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant swing. This swing will allow for a person in a wheelchair to experience swinging in the park.

“This could be a really big project for our Rotary Club, and it’ll be great for Washington Township,” Pasternak said. “I know people who are in wheelchairs, and they’re not able to participate at the park. Think about a kid who’s never been able to be on a swing because they’re in a wheelchair. Now we can go out there, wheel the whole chair on there, and let them be able to enjoy themselves. It’s an amazing opportunity for our club and an amazing opportunity for the people in town to be able to join in with it.”

For the cost of admission, attendees are allowed unlimited samples of the following vendors: Rodney Strong, Francis Ford Coppola, Gemme, James Mitchell, Artesa Estate, Luna di Luna, Barone Fini, Voga Italia, Villa Pozzi, Bodega Septima, Ruta 22, Raimat, Vina Zaco, Yellowtail, Frabrizio, Gallo, and Barefoot. Bottles of wine will be available for sale as well. Commemorative glasses also will be given to attendees.

In addition to the alcohol vendors, the following food trucks will be in attendance: Buon Viaggio Mobile Wood Fired Oven, Groark Brothers BBQ, Julio’s Mexican Cuisine, Trent’s Lil Grille, Buzzetta’s Festival Foods, Sugar Matta’s, Kona Ice and Blended Joe.

As if that’s not enough, from noon to 6 p.m., two bands will grace the amphitheater at Washington Lake Park, SassFaction Band and JEM & The Vibe.

“We’re trying to give you a more expansive wine festival so you’ll have alcohol to taste and buy, food trucks, dessert food trucks, music to listen to, stuff to look at, crafts to buy, just a whole six-hour event that we’re trying to make as rounded as we can,” Pasternak said.

The Rotary is still looking for volunteers over the age of 21 to help make the event run smoothly. To inquire, please email Michelle Ajdinc@msn.com. For more information about the event or to buy tickets, visit www.wtwinefestival.com or the Facebook page “Sippin’ Away Again!”