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Annual festival goes green and gives back

ENCINITAS — One of the premiere local fundraisers of the year went “green” this year while setting new standards for excellence among a group known for service. More than 600 people attended the seventh annual Encinitas Rotary Wine Festival at San Diego Botanic Garden on June 5.
The attendees enjoyed delectables from area restaurants and first-class wine while listening to local musicians such as Peter Sprague.
The event is one of two major fundraisers for the local Rotary club that supports 14 nonprofits with the proceeds. The Rotary Club of Encinitas supports diverse projects such as assisting the Lost Boys of the Sudan and other refugees with adjusting to life in the United States through Refugee Network, Building Homes in Mexico with Project Mercy and purchasing wheelchairs for people in Malawi.
At the same time, club members are actively involved in the local community through their personal support of such organizations as the Community Resource Center, the Jonathon Tarr Foundation and the YMCA. The organization also supports the community by honoring a Teacher of the Month, Peace Officer of the Year and a Local Peace Maker of the Year.
The Encinitas Rotary Club was organized in 1939, as one of 32,000 clubs worldwide that has branches in 168 countries. Rotary has more than 1 million business and professional members. It is the largest international service organization in the world.
Rotarians follow the motto, “Service Above Self” with service projects in their local communities and abroad, addressing such critical issues as peace, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, water, disease and preserving the environment.
In an effort to contribute zero waste to the landfill, event organizers worked to source reusable and compostable materials in everything from silverware to serving dishes. One of the beneficiaries of the festival Solana Center for Recycling assisted in greening the effort.
“I think it’s fantastic that you can have a party this big and only throw away one bag of trash,” Shelly Johnson said. The Leucadia resident even used her own wine glass to take home and reuse. “There is nothing worse than going to these things and seeing how much junk is generated,” she said. “But not here. This is the right way to do it.”
As a Rotarian for more than 30 years, Encinitas resident Bill Berrier echoed the organization’s service motto as he sold raffle tickets during the event. “We’ve raised over $137,000 in the last two years from this event,” he said. “It’s about giving back to the community.”
But the goodwill generated during the fundraiser doesn’t end with the last wine glass washed. Rotarians throughout the world practice the following “Four Way Test” to assure high ethical standards in all of their business and professional activities. When considering the things people think, say or do, Rotarians ask themselves: “Is it true? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And will it be beneficial to all concerned?”