Lakewood Ranch resident Preston Olinger is putting his military background to good use.
It takes focus, determination and a knack for logistics to pull off what he and a 70-person taskforce will try to accomplish Nov. 12 at the Sarasota Polo Club.
The Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club will present its 15th annual Suncoast Food and Wine Festival.
The event has raised more than $1.3 million for local charities over the past 15 years.
“The thing that makes this work is dedicated Rotarians,” said Olinger, noting there are more than 10 committees formed for the event. “It’s a great event with great food and wine.”
The festival will feature live music by Kettle of Fish, cooking demonstrations and, of course, food and wine samplings. More than 40 restaurants will provide tastings of their signature dishes, appetizers or desserts, and event-goers also can sample hundreds of international and domestic wines and a variety of craft beer.
Tickets this year include a voucher good for one bottle of wine, which can be redeemed at Cheers to Wine, in Lakewood Ranch, after the event.
Event spokeswoman Laurie Hagberg said it’s a time to bring people together while supporting charity.
“This is the preeminent fall event in the East County,” Hagberg said. “Invite your friends to join you. Share wine. Share food. Try different things and come together. You can create your own event within an event.”
One hundred percent of proceeds from the festival benefit nonprofits and Rotary programs through a grant process. Grant applications go out mid-December and are available at lakewoodranch-rotary.com. An average of 25 grants are distributed each year.