by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

nshaffer@timespublications.com

20th Annual Thousand Oaks Rotary Wine and Beer Festival
Saturday, Aug. 28, 5-9 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Westlake
880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village
$95; $125 at the door
www.thousandoaksrotarywinefestival.com


Great food, fine wine, craft beer, fabulous prizes, music and merriment . . . for lovers of both the grape and the grain, the Thousand Oaks Rotary Wine and Beer Festival is one of the hottest tickets of the year. It’s back again after having to bow out in 2020, and organizers couldn’t be happier. 

“This is our first fundraising event since the street fair of 2019,” said Marc Feigen, a commercial real estate broker in Thousand Oaks who also serves as the publicity chair for the festival. “Finally, we get to do something!”

As the summer of 2021 neared, Feigen said that, “We just figured, pick a date and put it together. We felt better when all the restrictions were lifted in June.” 

Nevertheless, it was decided to move portions of the event out of doors. Traditionally held at the Hyatt Regency in Westlake Village, the rotary club organizers will be taking advantage of the hotel’s “nice garden area outside” to set up the wine and beer tasting.

Fourteen wineries will be participating, including Ascension Cellars, Opolo Vineyards and Eberle Winery from Paso Robles; Santa Maria’s Au Bon Climat; and local vintners such as Four Brix Winery (Ventura) and Giessinger (Fillmore and Westlake Village). Five breweries — 14 Cannons, BJ’s Brewhouse, Flat Fish Brewing Co., Flying Embers and Tarantula Hill Brewing Co. — will be pouring out ales, lagers and other craft beers. 

Food vendors will be both inside and out. 

“The Hyatt always has a nice roast beef carving station,” said Feigen, adding that many more local restaurants and caterers will be exhibiting, including Boccaccio’s, 101 North Eatery and Bar and Mayz Kitchen. Dessert vendors include Sweet Arleen’s and Cocoa Rome Chocolate Company.

The other big highlight of the festival is the silent auction, always full of wonderful items, vacations and the like. This year, attendees can bid on a guitar autographed by Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, VIP tickets to a Los Angeles Rams game, stays at luxury resorts in Mexico, a three-night retreat at June Lake, jewelry, restaurant gift certificates, golf packages and much more. 

“Our silent auction is online already,” Feigen noted. “You can do the silent auction without even being present.” Visit the auction website at www.32auctions.com/torf

One special offering at the auction: sponsorship opportunities for Special Olympics athletes. First and foremost, the Thousand Oaks Rotary Wine and Beer Festival is a fundraiser for the Ventura County Special Olympics, and in its 20-year history has raised more than $500,000 for the local organization. It’s one of the reasons why the club is able to garner such high-ticket items and exhibitors.

“These people want to participate,” Feigen emphasized.

New to the festival this year is a live band. The Nocturnes pay tribute to the music of the 1960s-70s, particularly California surf music. They’ll be playing favorites from the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, The Righteous Brothers and other classic acts of the era. In that same spirit, Feigen said that festival organizers are encouraging attendees (around 300 people are expected) to wear “Hawaiian Beach Boys attire.”

Most of all, Feigen said that he is “looking forward to having a successful fundraiser. It’ll be nice to have an event where we can all gather.”