The Taos Lions Club is coming out swinging. Golf clubs, that is. And, like its previous Toast of Taos fundraisers, this year's event is planned out as an exceptional day of fun, music, …
The Taos Lions Club is coming out swinging. Golf clubs, that is. And, like its previous Toast of Taos fundraisers, this year's event is planned out as an exceptional day of fun, music, wine, food and, yes, golf.
This Saturday (June 22), the Taos Lions Club will present its 11th annual Toast of Taos event at the Taos Country Club. All proceeds from the day go to fund the club's many year-round programs benefiting children and adults in Taos County.
"We've got a really good team," said Lions Club event chairperson Mike Hess. "We've got about 40 members now at last count, and every one of them is dedicated to helping in Taos County. Toast of Taos is our only fundraiser, so we're very motivated to raise the funds."
"I don't think people realize everything that the Lions Club does," said club member Joanne Crass. "I think there's a perception that it's a stuffy men's club. But it's women as well as men, we are so far from stuffy and we are working year-round to help Taos to be a better place to live."
The Lions Club actively looks for pressing issues the community needs to address. The morning of the event is devoted to golfing on the country club's greens against a backdrop of panoramic mountain views. Golfers can register in advance or on the day of the event beginning at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. tee off. Teams can sign up together, or individuals will be placed with teams on-site. The entry fee for the golf tournament includes breakfast burritos, green fees, carts, goodie bags and admission to the afternoon wine festival. Prizes will be awarded for lowest scores, longest drive and closest to pin. Plus, there's a $1,000 cash prize for the first hole in one.
At 2 p.m., doors open for the Toast of Taos Wine Festival. The country club's Terrace Restaurant will open out into a spacious indoor-outdoor tent. Wineries from around the United States and the world will be represented, with the opportunity to meet winemakers, sommeliers and distillers of small batch heirloom spirits.
Guests will receive souvenir Toast of Taos wine glasses to take home, and be able to sample spirits from California, Washington State, Idaho and Oregon, Italy, New Zealand and France. Closer to home, there will be wines from New Mexico's own Gruet Winery and locally owned and produced craft spirits from Rolling Still Distillery. Taos Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal will be on hand to present his Mirabal Reserve label wine.
Tasty appetizers will be served by chefs from local restaurants including Antonio's, Wheeler Peak Café, Gutiz, Michael's Kitchen, the Trading Post Café, Don Fernando Hotel and Restaurant and Taos Culinary Arts.
Music will be provided by Last Note Band, known for their lively accompaniment to the late folk singing legend Jenny Vincent at Taos Retirement Center.
During the festivities, guests can place their bids in a silent auction featuring an eclectic array of art, outdoor experiences, luxury vacations, wine and much more.
Some of the Lions Club's many programs that are funded by proceeds from the Toast of Taos:
• KidSight, offering free eye screenings to more than 1,700 children a year in Taos County schools, plus financial assistance for eyeglasses and optometrist visits where needed.
• Adult Vision, providing older people with assistance to help pay for eye exams, glasses and cataract surgery.
• A UNM-Taos partnership to provide scholarships to students enrolled in programs such as nursing and commercial driving that make it possible for local residents to remain in our community and make a living wage.
• Community Charities. The Lions Club chooses a wide variety of local nonprofits to support financially throughout the year, including Boy & Girl Scouts, Bridges Project for Education, Taos Men's Shelter, Community Against Violence, food pantry, DreamTree Project, Heart of Taos and others. Club members give not only money but their time, including cooking and serving monthly meals at the men's shelter.
• Tio Vivo Carousel. Lions Club members are the stewards of this unique and priceless 19th-century merry-go-round that holds fond memories for generations of Taoseños.
• The Lions Club works with Taos Pueblo Day School to offer year-round lunch cards, necessities, educational materials and more.
• On seven major holidays, the Lions Club places flags around Taos Plaza to pay tribute to our country and to those men and women who have served in the military.
Of the Toast of Taos, Hess said, "There is going to be so much to enjoy on Saturday. It's become a destination event for golfers - they come up every year from Albuquerque, Denver even Dallas. So far, no one's ever won the hole in one prize, but this could be the year. Then, the silent auction this year is terrific. There's a lot of artwork, a selection of wines donated from the different wineries, ski lessons, nights at The Blake hotel and El Monte Sagrado. And the trips up for auction are amazing. There's a stay at a villa in Tuscany that can sleep eight people, a couple of trips to Cabo and one to play golf at St. Andrew's in Scotland."
"We hope people show up and have fun, and maybe we'll even pick up a few new members," Crass added. "We meet on the first and third Thursday of every month [at the Taos Country Club]. The meetings have a fun, social element to bring people together, but also have a serious side. We bring in speakers from diverse areas of the community to educate us, to tell us what issues they see that need to be addressed, to suggest where we can be useful and help us make more informed decisions as we go forward. We don't sit on our hands here. We're a doer club."
The Taos Country Club is located at 54 Golf Course Road, off County Road 110 via State Road 68 in Ranchos de Taos.
Event tickets are $157 per person; $112 for country club members. Tournament tickets include wine festival admission. Wine festival tickets only are $50 in advance; $55 at the door. For more information and advance tickets, visit taoslions.org/toast_of_taos.
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