Weather Forecast


Adults' night out will benefit local school

When parents who help support St. Francis School in Ellsworth sought a new major fundraiser, they figured it should be something fun.

So the first "Wine and Wishes" is coming to the local church's parish hall on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. The wine-tasting event will feature hors d'oeuvres as well as beverages, along with entertainment and auctions. The public is welcome.

Co-Chairs Casey Oricchio and Deanna Hines said Thursday the school's backers have normally held several small fundraisers in the past, such as candy bar, frozen foods and Watkins products sales. They wanted to try a larger project instead.

"The school needs $20,000 annually for textbooks alone," Oricchio said, noting St. Francis has only updated these every other year due to the expense.

Proceeds from the Oct. 28 evening, being billed as an "adults' night out," are designated to cover the cost of textbooks, she said. A 10-member committee signed up at the end of the last school term to organize the new fundraising effort and met for the first time in August. Oricchio and Hines suggested the wine-tasting idea.

"I'd been to one," the former said, indicating her sister-in-law was familiar with a similar party held at St. Bridget's School in River Falls, too.

Stacy Henning will play piano music for the first hour of the gathering here and light jazz music will be presented from 8 to 9 p.m., the co-chairs said. A silent auction will be held and auctioneer Jack Hines will conduct a live auction. Among big items which have been donated are a grill and a children's bicycle.

Attendees will be able to bid on a butterfly house, bird houses, artwork, scarves, jewelry and the like, they said. There will be a plane ride to Rice Lake for dinner for two at the Norske Nook available, as well as a two-night stay at Whispering Pines Resort. A quarter-beef from Cobian Farms and Pierce County Meats plus a yard pond kit complete with landscaping from Rockworks are other attractions.

"We've got almost 100 items," Oricchio said.

Brad's Corner Liquors in Ellsworth has lined up four vendors for the wine, each to offer several varieties for tasting, she said. Case orders can be placed at a 15 percent discount during the evening, with five percent of that amount going to the school cause. The business is also supplying ice and wine glasses.

Donations are coming from: the Ellsworth Co-op Creamery, cheese and crackers; Hinck's Economart in Ellsworth, bread and fruit; Amici's Restaurant in Red Wing, brushetta; Heartfelt Gifts in Ellsworth, chocolates and mints; and F and K Excavating in River Falls, beer and soda. BoJo's Creations in Ellsworth is donating parish hall decorating.

"We've already collected $3,700 in cash sponsorships," Oricchio said.

Attendees are encouraged to dress for the night out, she said.

A total of 250 tickets are being sold and because 100 of these had been purchased by last week, the co-chairs believe the event could be a sell-out. The tickets are priced at $25 each, entitling holders to the tasting, beverages, hors d'oeuvres and entertainment. They're on sale at Brad's Corner Liquors, Joanne Hines American Family Insurance Agency, Quinn Motors and St. Francis Church.

Although the event is open to everyone, 200 letters about it were sent in August and ticket sales before and after masses at the church the weekend of Oct. 14 and 15 are planned.