Long Beach Public Library revamps its Grape Expectations fundraising event

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s fundraising gala, Grape Expectations, is revamping its annual event in light of coronavirus. What was formerly an extravagant sit-down experience, with an auction, multi-course meal and wine tasting, is now a week-long community book reading event.

Those who would like to participate are asked to pick a good book and share what they’re reading online using the hashtag, #LBReadsAtHome. They’re also encouraging guests to host virtual reading parties and share their wine recommendations. We’re thinking “Grapes of Wrath” would pair nicely with a spicy cabernet. Lastly, they ask those who participate to donate any tax-deductible amount to the Foundation.

“Let’s all come together as supporters of literacy and share in the joy of a great book,” said Sharon Weissman, president of the Library Foundation. “Support for the Library Foundation will help ensure its programs and resources will continue to be available for all to use and enjoy.”

Kicking off the week-long event, which starts April 23 and ends April 30, will be a short, personal film from Billie Jean King and a Facebook live concert from local Bossa Nova singer Caro Pierotto at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. You can catch the stream at the Grape Expectations Facebook page.

To complete the experience, participants may purchase a $100 wine flight online from alcoholic beverage retail store, The Wine Country. Owner and president of the Wine Country, Randy Kemner says those who purchase the flights will have to drive to the store—located at 2301 Redondo Ave., Signal Hill—to pick them up, but an employee will meet them outside to deliver the wine.

“I made an arrangement with the library foundation that all the profits, every cent of those four wines if they are sold in package, will go to the Library Foundation,” Kemner said.

Long Beach-based catering company, TGIS, which caters the annual gala every year, is offering a four-course, $95 dinner for two.

The LBPL Foundation was founded in 1996 and is a 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds for all 12 of the Long Beach Public Libraries to continue its mission of supporting libraries and literacy in Long Beach.

Once libraries re-open, the Foundation anticipates more people will need to use their many resources to help them find jobs, create résumés and help children catch up with their studies once schools resume in the Fall. Programs like the free one-on-one tutoring the libraries offer in their Family Learning Centers are just one of the many resources that require donation-based funding to survive.

To donate to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, click here. You can check out the details of the Wine Flight sampler from the Wine Country, here. For more information on the four-course meal by TGIS, click here.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.