Christian Brothers holds scholarship fundraiser Friday

Published: Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

Christian Brothers High School boosters expect to raise $100,000 for need-based scholarships through an annual wine, beer and food event Friday evening on the Oak Park campus.

The event – which is in its 25th year – is expected to draw 1,700 people.

"Over the course of the event, it's provided scholarships for thousands of students," said Patrick Harbison, an alumni and spokesman for the event, officially labeled an "extravaganza."

"That buzz that we are all getting is for a good cause," he said.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate, which opens at 7 p.m. The campus is at 4315 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

In the mid-1980s, West Sacramento Councilman Oscar Villegas, then a junior, found himself in need of tuition assistance after his dad was temporally displaced from his railroad job.

"The school stepped up. They helped my parents out with the tuition," Villegas said. These days – with more people out of work – tuition assistance is needed more than ever, he said.

Nancy Smith-Fagan, assistant director of advancement, said diversity is part of the core mission at Christian Brothers.

One-third of the campus receives some level of assistance with the $11,600 annual tuition and 8 percent to 9 percent of the students are below the federal poverty level.

While the event brings in just a small portion of the $1.9 million in assistance that will be offered this year, it also gives the campus visibility. Harbison said it is a perfect hybrid between an all-years reunion and a communitywide event, drawing foodies and friends.

With the long history – Christian Brothers claims it to be the longest running Sacramento wine tasting – and a dedicated alumni base, the school is able to offer some of the region's best food, beer and wine offerings.

Those include Rombauer and ZD wines; beer from Pyramid, Hoppy and Two Rivers breweries; and food from the Supper Club, Mulvaneys and Tuli.

The event also includes music from Dane Drewis, Mustache Harbor and Brandon Oreno.

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