Raise your glass, one last time: Richwood Winery to host final Toast to Tamarac Sept. 9
Though the annual Toast to Tamarac fundraiser hosted by the Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge may live on after this year, it will look very different: The Toast has been held at Richwood Winery every year since its inception in 2010. With the winery closing — and its chair retiring — the event will soon evolve into something new.
DETROIT LAKES — It's the end of an era for the Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.
Though the annual Toast to Tamarac fundraiser benefiting their outdoor education programs will continue on in some form, it will do so at a new location, and with a different chair organizing it behind the scenes.
The Toast has been held at Richwood Winery every year since its inception in 2010, with one obvious exception: 2020, when most events on the calendar were scuttled with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the winery closing at the end of September, a new location will need to be found, as well as a new chair to do the planning.
"This is my last year," says Vonnie Jacobson, who has chaired the annual fundraiser every year since 2010. "It will have to be re-imagined, and I think someone younger should be doing that."
That being said, Jacobson noted that she won't be stepping down because of dissatisfaction with her fellow Friends volunteers. "I'm so glad I got to work with all these wonderful men and women. They really make things happen."
The fundraiser will be held at the winery from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, with music by the David Ferreira Trio and games organized by Tamarac volunteers.
"We'll have a bean bag toss, and a fish pond for your inner child," Jacobson joked, "along with some other fun games — and then there's the silent auction."
Area artists, businesses and other philanthropists contribute hundreds of items to the silent auction each year, Jacobson said, which makes it one of the fundraiser's most popular events.
The fundraiser goes to support the Friends' outdoor education programming at Tamarac, which brings hundreds to the Refuge year-round, both kids and adults, though the stated aim of the programs is "to connect children with nature."
"A total of 2,500 youth every year make use of our outdoor education programs, and 10 area school districts participate, including not just Detroit Lakes, but Frazee- Vergas, Perham, Wadena, Moorhead and Lake Park-Audubon," Jacobson said. "The students visit more than once a year, which increases their ability to absorb what they learned."
The programs are also accredited by the state of Minnesota, she added.
Tickets for the fundraiser are $40 per person, and include a commemorative wine glass and one drink ticket, for the bearer to enjoy a glass of wine, beer, mixed drink or non-alcoholic beverage of their choice. They also include food, which will be served from 5 to 7 p.m.
"We have an assortment of wraps, including a vegetarian option, along with sides and a dessert," Jacobson said.
Tickets may be purchased at the winery or at Central Market in Detroit Lakes, as well as from any Friends of Tamarac board member; they may also be purchased online at eventbrite.com .