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WSRE's Wine & Food Community Events Hit a Homerun

Pensacola, Fla. — Local PBS TV station, WSRE recently held its 24th Annual Wine & Food Classic fundraiser. Comprised of two community events “The Grand Slam Taste of WSRE” held October 21 at the Pensacola Bay Center and “The Diamonds & Duds Dinner” held October 18 at Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, hit a homerun with attendees. Over $85,000 in net proceeds were raised through the generous support of the community. The monies raised will go a long way in extending the pub broadcaster’s mission of education to all citizens along the Gulf Coast. Both events were themed around baseball, in celebration of the release of the station’s newest documentary “Baseball in Pensacola,” which will premiere November 8 at 8 p.m. on WSRE. Presented by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the weekend of events garnered strong community support for WSRE. “Our fans certainly ‘stepped up to the plate!’” said WSRE General Manager Sandy Cesaretti Ray. “We are most appreciative and humbled by the outpouring of support from our community and would like to thank everyone who attended, volunteered, and donated services or an auction item. It is quite an undertaking to put on events of this caliber, and we could not have done it without the help of everyone involved,” she stated.

At the Grand Slam Taste of WSRE, guests sampled cuisine prepared by 14 local chefs, tasted top-level wines and expertly crafted beer and spirits, all provided by Republic National Distributing Company. Attendees mixed, mingled and met local baseball legends such as Billy Sadler, Greg Litton and Dennis Lewallyn, as well as celebrity chef and authors James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst. A silent auction and entertainment by show band “The Tip Tops” rounded out the evening.

Local Grand Slam participating chefs/restaurants included:
Jim Shirley of Fish House, Mark Murphy of McGuire’s Irish Pub, Nick Farkas of New World Landing & 600 South, Gregg McCarthy of The Grand Marlin, Robert Pettway of Savor Pensacola, Brian Culleton of Dharma Blue, Chris Voorhees of The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Brandon Milton of Seville Quarter, Erika Thomas of Portobello Market Restaurant and Catering, George Makris of Angus Seafood, Steaks, Spirits, Mike DeSorbo of Culinary Productions; Paulette Martin of Nouveau Pastries and Catering, Alex McPhail of Iron at Marcus Pointe, and Tricia Horton of Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille.

Attendees showed off their best “Diamonds & Duds” during an exclusive evening with WSRE at the Diamonds & Duds Dinner featuring world renowned Celebrity Chef John Folse. Guests were welcomed with a champagne reception and treated to premium wines paired with a gourmet, four-course dinner prepared by Chef Folse along with some of the area’s top chefs — Dan Dunn of H2O Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse, David Penniman of Classic City Catering and Gus Silivos of Nancy’s Haute Affairs Catering and Events. Entertainment for the evening was provided by “The James Adkins Jazz Trio.” The successful, and at times intense, live auction was led by Teri Levin & Dan Shugart.

John Folse, a native of Louisiana, is truly an international chef, restaurateur, and a leading authority on Cajun and Creole cuisine and culture. After opening his first restaurant, Lafitte’s Landing, in 1978; Folse set out to conquer the world introducing Louisiana’s indigenous cuisine to major metropolitan cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Paris, London and Moscow. In 1989, He was the first non-Italian chef to create the Vatican State Dinner in Rome. “A Taste of Louisiana” is Folse’s international television series produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting since 1990. Awarded numerous honors, Folse now oversees a successful media, manufacturing and restaurant empire. R’evolution, his latest restaurant venture, in partnership with Chef Rick Tramonto, opened in June 2012 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans.

Honorary Chairs for the events were Quint and Rishy Studer along with event co-chairs Michael Johnson and Bill Campion. The events were made possible by presenting sponsor the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and other sponsors: Polonza Bistro, Republic National Distributing Company, Gulf Power, Michael Johnson – State Farm Insurance, Thomspon & Walden Insurance, Stephen T. Holman, P.A., Express Employment Professionals, John Pharr, CPA, EDN Corp., JP Micro, WEAR-TV, WFGX, Cox Communications, Pensacola News Journal & Bella Magazine, Lamar, YP, Gerald Adcox, Teri Levin – Vinyl Music Hall, Gary Sapp Automotive, Penton House Salon & Spa, John Peacock – Edward Jones Investments, Patricia Windham – Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Sheila Hale – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Patricia Mills Benjamin, Jewelers Trade Shop, Will & Jane Merrill, Dlux Printing, Pensacola Magazine, KIA Auto, Child Neurology Associates, North Hill Chair Covers & Linens, BBVA Compass, Beré Jewelers, Webb Electric Company of FL, Inc., Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon and Carmen’s Custom Framing & Photography.

All proceeds benefited the mission of WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast.

About WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast
WSRE is a PBS member station that is locally owned and licensed to the Pensacola State College Board of Trustees operating as a service of Pensacola State College. The public broadcasting station has been serving the needs of the Gulf Coast community through programming, educational services and outreach since 1967. WSRE produces, acquires and distributes programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of its audience. The Educational Services unit for WSRE serves as the connection to teachers, parents, caregivers and children to extend the rich resources found in public television. For more information about WSRE, its services, programs or available resources, visit wsre.org.

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