Jacob Clolinger attended the Gourmet Gala at St. Francis last year, shortly after being hired as the new director of the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center. This year, he has been involved in planning the center's main fundraiser, and he is excited about the outdoor event 6-9 p.m. Friday.
About 200 reservations had come in by the end of last week, with more expected. Clolinger said there will be seating for up to 325 people. The 2014 gala features a sit-down dinner, a change from the gala's previous format.
"This year, we have Greenbriar Catering doing a meal similar in style to last year, but we're having one meal rather than small samples. This year, we'll have a meal with pork and chicken on it," he said. "All our hors d'oeuvres will be made by the Sisters of St. Francis kitchen staff. They're going to be trying out some new things this year, including some cold soups."
Four kinds of wine from Chateau Tebeau are to be served with the food, and two kinds of craft beer: Buckeye Beer from Maumee Brewing Co. and 312 Urban Wheat by Goose Island Beer Co.
Clolinger said the sisters and their associates are making a variety of desserts for guests.
"For a little bit of a twist this year, we are having a wine pull, where attendees can pay to pull a cork to keep until the end of the event. They will turn it in to match up with a wine bottle. Some of the wine bottles will have extra things like gift cards attached to them, but everyone who participates in that will at least get a bottle of wine to take home," Clolinger said. "I know the wines are from all over Ohio and across the country."
A string quartet from the Lima Symphony Orchestra is to provide music before and during dinner. Last year's gala featured a silent auction, but this year, Clayton Neil is to conduct a live auction.
Items up for bid include dinner at Genevieve House at St. Francis, a garden fountain made by Sister Jane Omlor and a painting by Sister Paulette Schroeder. A novelty prize is a ride for two on the Goodyear blimp.
"We've been trying for a couple years to get that," Clolinger said.
Several items also are to be raffled, including a "campus basket" with a summer camp pass for 2015, lunch at the straw bale house and gifts from other residents and ministries at St. Francis. Clolinger said he plans to be circulating at the dinner to sell raffle tickets and introduce himself to guests. Proceeds from the gala are to be directed to educational programs throughout the school year and 2015 summer day camps at FELC.
Gourmet Gala tickets are $80 per person or $520 for a table of eight. For reservations or information, call Linda at (419) 447-0435.