Six years ago, the first "Toast of the Vineyard" was christened the major fundraiser for Harmony House Children's Advocacy Center in Wheeling. It provides patrons a night out on the town in exchange for their support of a good cause.
The center is a United Way agency and an accredited agency of the National Children's Alliance. Its sole purpose is to streamline the process for a child who has reported child sexual abuse or who is suspected to be a victim of such abuse. The center staff conducts forensic interviews that are provided to all parties concerned. They also provide support and advocacy for the child and his or her family, counseling and prevention education.
The sixth annual Toast of the Vineyard event will take place from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Stratford Springs Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Wheeling.
d’oeuvres for the Toast of the Vineyard benefit for Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center at Stratford Springs are, from left, Harmony House board
members Nancy Georges and Jane Costanzo with their husbands, Dr. Angelo Georges and Lou Costanzo. The event will take place from
7-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.
Organizers say the event continues to improve every year.
"Last year, we had to turn people away, so we are urging those who want to attend to get tickets now," said Jill Eddy, fundraising chair for the Harmony House board of directors. The event capacity is 200 patrons.
Tickets will be sold for a reduced price through Wednesday, Sept. 1 and can be purchased by calling Harmony House, 304-230-2205.
The event features wine and beer tasting, heavy hors d'oeuvres and musical entertainment provided by guitarist Roger Hoard.
"Guests will be able to socialize with friends, sip their favorite beverages, and dine on a fabulous spread of tasty hors d'oeuvres chosen to complement the wines in the spacious ballroom or outdoors on the large veranda-style porch," Eddy said.
Domestic and international wines from Italy, Australia, Argentina, California, Spain, New Zealand, Washington State, South Africa and Germany will be available. All wines and beers are provided by Wine & Beverage Merchants of WV. John Rothwell, general manager of Wine & Beverage Merchants, will be available to answer questions regarding the beverages.
A silent auction also will take place. This year's major prize is an elegant dinner and wine for 12 people at the President's Mansion, West Liberty University, as guests of Robin and Saun Capehart. For the successful bidder, this item also includes two chauffeured limousines with champagne for the ride.
Other items include a golf outing at either the Robert Trent Jones or Arnold Palmer Course, compliments of Oglebay Park; an autographed Steelers football donated by board member Maureen Barte; overnight stays at Stonewall Jackson Resort and at the Mountaineer Casino; a framed charcoal print of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge by artist Lynnetta Miller; watercolor painting by artist Janet Rodriguez; and numerous other items.
Three major supporters will be honored at the event and presented plaques for their commitment to helping Harmony House. They are Christian Fellowship Foundation, Wheeling Hospital and Wine & Beverage Merchants of WV.
In addition to these three major sponsors, Harmony House is grateful for all its sponsors including Alternative Health Inc. and Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack, as well as Advantage Payroll Services, Ameriprise Financial, Dinsmore & Shohl, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, Peacock Keller and Ecker, Progressive Bank, The Health Plan, Riesbeck's and WesBanco.
"Harmony House is so blessed to have so much community support. We are grateful for all who make this event successful from those who donated auction items to our cash sponsors to those who join us for the evening," said Leslie Vassilaros, Harmony House executive director.