If you thought last year’s Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest was impressive… this year’s event exceeded all expectations. With the conclusion of this highly anticipated event on Saturday, February 2, 2019, Sonoma County can now safely boast the largest crab feed in California, and maybe even in the U.S.
A sea of almost 2,100 guests and nearly 400 volunteers and reception participants attended the biggest and best crab feed yet. In total, nearly 2,500 people gathered to support Sonoma County agriculture.
New this year, the event kicked off with a reception at 4:00 p.m. in the Hall of Flowers at the Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Guests mingled amongst festive stilt walkers, enjoyed live music from Train Wreck Junction, and perused the over 280 silent auction items as the beloved inflatable giant Dungeness crab looked on. With more space to mix and mingle, guests enjoyed time with friends, sampled offerings from 16 Sonoma County premium wineries, two local breweries, a Sebastopol cidery, and food purveyors that provided a wide array of hors d’oeuvres. This year’s reception also added a new crowd favorite, the whiskey bar.
Guests then moved to the Grace Pavilion for the all-you-can-eat crab dinner and live auction. More than 184 4-H and FFA students along with 55 volunteers from the Rose Valley Eastern Chapter #33, the Rainbow Girls and the Sonoma County DeMolay groups volunteered to serve guests at the event. Many students who served in the past have gone on to receive scholarships from the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County. The Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest generates donations used to support local agriculture education efforts with some of the funds going directly back to Sonoma and Marin County students.
Last year 41 students received more than $167,000 to support their education in agricultural related fields at community colleges and four-year universities. Sonoma County Farm Bureau is committed to investing in the next generation of agricultural leaders to ensure the future of agriculture in the county. To date, local farmers and businesses have pledged over $155,000 to the 2019 scholarship program.
In addition to raising money for the Farm Bureau Foundation, Sonoma County Farm Bureau sold an additional 20 live auction items to benefit Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s mission to promote and protect agriculture in Sonoma County. Four of the live auction lots went for over $10,000. The top selling item in this year’s live auction was a custom-made grill & smoker trailer, donated by American AgCredit. Thank you to Brett Martinez from Redwood Credit Union for purchasing the trailer.
Summer Jeffus, American AgCredit’s Regional Marketing Manager said she won the smoker trailer at a fundraiser in August and was thrilled to donate it to the Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest live auction.
“The Crab Feed is the biggest fundraiser for ag youth in Sonoma County, so it was exciting to see the trailer go for so much in the auction,” Jeffus said. “Knowing that money is going to support the future of agriculture makes me so happy. It definitely made my year.”
Jeffus added that she enjoyed attending the event because it brings the Farm Bureau together with the entire community.
She said, “Where else are you going to get 2,000 people from all over Sonoma County, from all different industries coming together to support one great cause?”
As always, guests were excited for the diamond and trip raffle winners to be announced during the live auction. Amazingly, Pat Stornetta from Sonoma won both. Saturday night she went home with a set of diamond earrings from E.R. Sawyer Jewelers and is probably already planning her dream vacation to Italy.
The continued success and sheer magnitude of this year’s event are a testament to the value Sonoma County residents place on supporting agriculture and youth in our community. Sonoma County Farm Bureau works hard to support the industry through advocacy and education and would like to thank all the enthusiastic guests, generous sponsors and hardworking volunteers who make this grand and continually growing event possible. Sonoma County Farm Bureau is looking forward to the 31st Annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest on February 1, 2020.