Donned in formal wear and greeted with cheese and fine wine, 300 local dignitaries gathered at the Canyon Country Community Center on Thursday for the annual “Wine on the Roof” event.
The event, obviously not on the roof this year, is a fundraiser for its host, the WiSH Foundation, which is aiming to raise funds for the William S. Hart Union High School District to “bridge the gap” of where government funding for public schools falls short.
“Well, the main goal with the WiSH Foundation is to be able to raise funds to kind of bridge the gap in the funding that the public school, that Hart school district, gets from the state,” said Dave Caldwell, public relations officer for the Hart district. “So they do such an amazing job with the arts, with computers, all those kinds of things. So it’s really one of the best organizations and so well run to be able to help bridge that gap.”
After attendees checked in and received their wine glasses, they walked into the grand room of the community center and mingled as the Hart District Jazz Band played in the background. Patrons eventually made their way to their seats, which cost $125 or $1,125 per table of 10.
The cost was not without its perks, however, as it came with a four-course meal with each course paired with a wine from the many vineyards, wineries, and enthusiasts who donated to the event. Entree items included Sicilian swordfish with cannelloni asparagus hash and basmati rice with dessert featuring Beaujolais with poached pear with crème anglaise and fresh raspberry.
“We sold out early, which is absolutely amazing. People are just ready to get out and have a good time and party with a purpose,” said Amy Daniels, executive director of the WiSH Education Foundation. “So I think that really motivated the community to just seek out great opportunities. And this was one of the, you know, most well-attended, well-looked-forward-to events in the valley.”
Prominent attendees of the fundraiser included Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs, Councilman Bill Miranda, and Capt. Justin Diez with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Charles Deuschle, a video production teacher at Castaic High School, said that WiSH has been able to provide funding for his students in the past and hopes the funds raised at Wine on the Roof can once again help provide materials for class.
“Well, you’re always looking for ways to get there, the students using equipment hands-on, so it could be anything from video cameras to software subscriptions for editors, It could be wireless microphones, video production programs can be very expensive to run and the equipment dies very easily,” said Deuschle. “So something like the WiSH Foundation would certainly help keep the equipment going and running for longer periods of time than we might normally have.”
In addition to the attendance cost, patrons could also raise funds for WiSH by bidding on several gift baskets like one that included a baseball signed by former Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton.
As for why the event isn’t on the roof any longer? No one could say for certain, but there were reports that the city would not allow it to take place at the event’s original location atop a parking structure at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
“We change it from year to year, try to keep everybody on their toes, but when we do have it inside we try to create an outdoor atmosphere,” said Daniels. “This has worked very well tonight.”