On Saturday, February 1, 2020, the Hall of Flowers and Grace Pavilion were filled with an ocean of support for youth education and advocacy at the 31st Annual Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest, which is the largest crab feed in California, and possibly the U.S. Nearly 2,000 guests and nearly 400 volunteers and reception participants attended the event to enjoy local bites, premier Sonoma County wine and brews, a fun party atmosphere, an impressive silent and live auction, and of course, a mouthwatering crab dinner.
For the second year in a row, the Reception began at 4 p.m. in the Hall of Flowers at the Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Attendees enjoyed live music from Court ‘n’ Disaster as they took photos with the beloved giant crab, placed bids on the over 280 Silent Auction Items, took hilarious photos in the photo booth, and sampled some of the best food, wine, and brews that Sonoma County has to offer.
After a few hours of fun, attendees moved over to the Grace Pavilion for the crab dinner and Live Auction. More than 200 4-H and FFA students volunteered to serve guests at the event. Many students who have served in the past have gone on to receive scholarships from the Farm Bureau Foundation.
Thanks to the continued generosity from the community, last year the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County was able to award 45 students with $158,650 to support their education in agricultural-related fields at community colleges and four-year universities. One of the most important parts of the Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest is the donations generated for the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County to support local agriculture education efforts. During Lot 1 of the Live Auction, $56,000 was raised for the Farm Bureau Foundation in addition to the annual pledges we have already received. Thank you to all who donated in support of Sonoma County youth.
In addition to raising money for the Farm Bureau Foundation, Sonoma County Farm Bureau sold an additional 19 live auction items to benefit the Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s mission to promote and protect agriculture in Sonoma County. Auctioneer Sam Dolcini and his spotters had to work hard to keep up with constant bids for items like a trip to Kenya, an overnight getaway at Cooley Ranch, and a BBQ for 25 at Dutton Ranch. Impressively, three Live Auction lots went for over $10,000.
At the conclusion of the Live Auction, all who purchased a lot were placed in a drawing to win a Pedago electric bike that is valued at over $2,000. Susan Syar was the lucky winner. Other raffle winners were Karen Cameron who won the E.R. Sawyer Diamond Raffle and went home with a beautiful pair of diamond earrings, Tiah Foley who won the TV from the Treasure Raffle drawing, and Kimber West was the winner of the Trip Raffle and is probably already planning her dream vacation.
New this year, the Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest went green. With paperless registration, no water bottles, and the help of the Conservation Corps North Bay, the event minimized waste in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.
Danielle Matthews Seperas, Manager, Government & Community Affairs for Calpine Corporation said that she looks forward to the Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest every year.
“It is the place to go to see anybody that’s anybody,” Matthews Seperas said. “It’s great to see local officials, colleagues, and friends all together in one place. This year I loved the new set up, the band, the photo booth, and of course, the yummy crab.”
She said that the best part of the event is that it’s casual and fun but ultimately, all for a good cause.
“It is the networking event of the year, but everyone is there because they care about the agriculture community and want to contribute to the great work the Farm Bureau is doing,” she said.
Matthews Seperas added that she enjoyed having 4-H and FFA members serving at their table and having the opportunity to talk with them about their projects.
“They were so professional and courteous,” she said. “As a former 4-H and FFA member myself, I know that that is what involvement in those organizations teaches youth.”
The success and size of the Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest are a direct reflection of the value the Sonoma County community places on supporting agriculture and youth in our county. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau would like to thank all the enthusiastic guests who made the event memorable and the generous sponsors and hardworking volunteers who made it possible. We are already looking forward to the 32nd Annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest in 2021.