PULLMAN, Wash. — The lure of the region’s finest wines, food, and song is expected to attract record numbers of gala-goers to the 19th annual Winefest on Friday, Nov. 1, at Gladish Community Center, an event sponsored by Washington State University student hospitality club, Sigma Iota. Tickets for the 5-7 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. sessions of the club fundraiser—which often sell out long before the event—will be available starting today (Oct. 7).

“Winefest is once again on the Friday night of WSU Dad’s Weekend, and it’s the best wine-tasting and fun evening event of the season on the Palouse,” says Kelly Barrett, Winefest director and School of Hospitality Business Management senior from Auburn.

As always, there will be dozens of the finest reds, whites and specialty wines from about 30 Washington wineries. Many owners and winery representatives are expected to be on hand to answer questions from connoisseurs in the crowd, allowing Sigma Iota students over 21 years of age to serve as pourers at the display tables. Winefest guests will enjoy a plentiful buffet of delicious Italian specialties from Spokane’s Old Spaghetti Factory, prepared that afternoon in the HBM on-campus kitchen by OSF chefs with the help of Sigma Iota students. Menu items include main course dishes, appetizers, salads and desserts

New to Winefest this year will be delicious entertainment by the award-winning WSU Jazz Quartet, led by graduate teaching assistant Scott Ryckman. In February, the WSU Jazz Quartet received first place at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. The foursome consists of students in the WSU Jazz Studies Program, which was hailed in JazzIz magazine as one of “the country’s recent best.”

Sigma Iota plans on 800 guests at this year’s Winefest, topping attendance at any former club Winefest by about 400. “We printed 400 tickets for each of the two evening sessions, and we plan to sell every one,” says Barrett. Ticket prices remain the same as last year at $25 each; that “buys” for each attendee 10 coupons for one-ounce samples of wines, dinner from the buffet and a commemorative wineglass. Only persons 21 years of age and older are permitted to attend Winefest.

“Staging an event of this type and magnitude is a tremendous experience for all of us in Sigma Iota, and any profit we make that evening will help us broaden our hospitality education,” Barrett says. Profits will come from ticket sales, prize raffles and sales of bottles of wine as attendees leave the event. The club could use the funds to help pay for students to attend trade conferences and competitions, and maybe even fund a scholarship.

Persons can buy Winefest 2002 tickets several ways until tickets are gone, says event ticket sales coordinator Susan Hatzenbihler, an HBM junior from East Wenatchee.

“Guests can e-mail me with their requested number of tickets and desired session at wsu_sigmaiota@hotmail.com,” she says. “They can also leave a voicemail by phoning (509) 335-0130 with the same type of information.” Hatzenbihler promises to return all messages as quickly as possible.

Tickets will also be for sale from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of October in both the Compton Union Building west entrance lobby and in the Todd Hall first-floor atrium. “Starting Tuesday, Oct. 8, we’ll have club members staffing sales tables and ready to answer any questions,” Hatzenbihler says.

For more information on Winefest 2002, contact Barrett or Hatzenbihler at (509) 335-0130, or at wsu_sigmaiota@hotmail.com.