WESTFIELD — “Energetic and dedicated” volunteer board members with the Westfield Athenaeum are organizing one of the “best holiday parties in the region,” according to Executive Director Guy McLain.
The event, “A Storybook Holiday — Wine Tasting,” is slated for 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the Great Hall at the Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., Westfield.
Tickets for the Athenaeum’s biggest fundraiser of the year are $50 per person and go on sale today. Tickets are available at the Circulation Desk in the main hall of the library and online at www.westath.org, using PayPal. Cash or checks will be accepted and tickets will be available up to the date of the event.
“The money raised by the wine tasting in the past has gone toward supporting the general operating expenses of the library and for renovations to our building,” said McLain. “Given the fact that some parts of our building were constructed in the 19th century, and additions were added in 1927 and 1966, means that it has been necessary to implement a number of renovations or repairs to the building in the past few years.”
McLain noted that funds raised have provided a “significant” portion of the costs of these renovations.
McLain also acknowledged the Rise to Knowledge Campaign, which is now largely complete, “has allowed us to make major improvements to the building.”
“These renovations have played an important part in helping us to upgrade our services, provide meeting space for public events, and improve digital services,” he said. “Although we were forced to delay some parts of our renovation program due to the pandemic, we hope in the near future to embark on what we are calling Phase 3 of our renovation plan.”
The money raised at this year’s event will assist McLain and his team to update several library operations, provide support for the art gallery, and help to update the history displays planned for the Reed Room.
As board members continue to work on the logistics for the red and white wine options, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres will be provided by students at Westfield Technical Academy, and the Westfield High School Jazz Band will be the featured entertainment. McLain said the hope is to provide a “nice selection” of both whites and reds from a variety of countries, as well as wines from the United States. Additionally, a wreath and centerpiece raffle is being planned as part of the festivities.
“We hope that the community will support this event because we rely on the community to provide the funds that make so many Athenaeum programs possible,” said McLain. “We are a nonprofit organization providing essential services to thousands of individuals each year.”
McLain added that another benefit of attending the wine tasting is to socialize with friends, view the exhibits on display, and learn more about what the Athenaeum has to offer patrons.