A good time was had by all
The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Museum hosted its annual Wine Dinner and Silent Auction Friday night at The Pretty Penny Café in Hillsboro to benefit the birthplace.
This marked the second year of the event which was originally conceived by former county coordinator Jay Miller to raise funds for the Pocahontas County SPCA.
No longer needed as a fundraiser for that organization – and not wanting a good event and a good time go to waste – the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace board of directors added it to their fundraising agenda.
Miller continues to be involved as his wife, Sue Groves, is the director of the museum.
Although a couple of days early, the invitation read: “Come, celebrate the Chinese New Year!”
The official date of the Chinese New Year is Sunday, February 10.
No one in attendance seemed to mind showing up two days early, nor staying late into the evening for the celebration and the cause.
Guests were provided with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres and wines and champagne as they perused the items donated for the auction. And everyone generally enjoyed good conversation with old friends, and made some new ones, as well.
Emory and Rose Anderson, of White Sulphur, were on board for the evening. Rose, who has served on the Pearl Buck Birthplace board and as its president, called the event “fun” and especially likes the silent auction.
Joel and Jean Srodes and Charles and Jean Cornell, all of Marlinton, were attending for the first-time, but surely not their last.
Joel and Stella Callison, of Hillsboro, received a personal invitation to the event.
“I’m in Rotary with Jay [Miller] and Gene [Simmons],” Joel said. “At the Rotary meeting they said ‘you’ve got to go to this.’ As far as I know, we’ve been to all of them.”
Richard and Marcia Laska traveled from Bartow for the event, and Richard pegged the atmosphere of the evening.
“It’s a slightly dated saying – but ‘it’s what’s happening,”‘ he said.
The silent auction treasure trove included a Chinese tea set; a set of Spanish, hand-painted vessels for oil and vinegar and salt and pepper; lovely, lightweight wooden bowls made from mulberry; a wooden box, cutting board and coatracks crafted by Hillsboro resident Dick Evans; an evening bag and an Indian inspired beaded change purse, donated by Edwina Pendarvis; snow-dyed scarf by Marcia Laska; an oak side table by Bob Alkire of Pocahontas Woodcrafts; a large bowl by noted local potter Eric Stahl; various gift baskets; and the list goes on.
Everyone was in good spirits.
Banks Jesser, Wine Consultant and Southeast Sales Manager for The Country Vintner, made sure of that, as the evening flowed from appetizers to wine pairings and commentary for the Chinese inspired entrees.
“I love wine,” Jesser said. “It’s my business.”
And he got down to business as the guests sat down for dinner.
A South African Chenin Blanc was served with the salad course, Spanish wines were added as guests dined on their choice of Asian inspired entrées – Salmon, Lion’s Head Meatballs or Braised Bok-Choy and Mushrooms, and an Italian Moscato finished off the meal.
Pretty Penny owner Blair Campbell never disappoints, and Friday’s courses and service were no exception.
Chinese New Year festivities last for 15 days, and given the food, laughter and atmosphere on Friday night – it would not be a bad way to spend 15 days.
On a more serious note, Groves addressed the group about the real purpose of the evening.
“We can’t make the Birthplace work without your support.”
Grant applications have been submitted, but there is much work to be done.
There are plans to paint the museum and repair the windows, at an estimated cost of $10,000.
Watch for more “fun” fundraisers in the near future.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@poc ahontastimes.com