story and photos by Linda Kaufenberg
FORT SMITH — Bost's signature fundraiser, Grape Escapes-A Vine Affair, was held Friday (March 9) at the Holiday Inn City Center. Guests had their choice of more than 350 wines, complemented by gourmet fare and live music by Don Bailey & The Jazz Combo.
The event was expected to raise between $75,000 and $80,000 to according to Shannon Fawcett, special events coordinator for Bost.
Founded in 1959, Bost has been providing choices and opportunities for individuals with developmental and related disabilities in western Arkansas so they may live, work and play in the community.
Even at the party, Bost staff members were hard at word on behalf of their clients. Guests were greeted in the city center atrium by Liliana Sierra and Ferba O' Kelley, who were collecting books, socks, diapers and donations. In addition, Clay Sanders, a sales representative for Bost, displayed Yum fishing worms manufactured by Pradco and counted and packaged by Bost workers at the organization’s manufacturing facility.
For the “Escapes” part of Grape Escapes, patrons bid on vacations, Hearts on Fire jewelry, sports packages, wine-pairing dinner parties, a print by John Bell Jr., a Dallas Cowboys helmet and football, fitness center memberships and more.
Scott Clark was the winning bidder on the helmet signed by quarterback Tony Romo. Zach Ledford and Leeann Hicklin each won a custom-made suit by Astor and Black. The deal included a tailored shirt and handmade tie. Local clothier Paul Rainwater will measure the winners, help them pick out their fabrics, design the outfits and personally deliver the suits.
The Bell print of “A Special Treat,” circa 1919, depicts the eastern view of Garrison Avenue from 11th Street and was won at auction by Brenda Altman. She gave it to her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Moises Ledezma. Linda and Joe Dickinson were the winning bidders for a murder mystery party for eight at the home of Jeff and Laura Palmer,with hosts Pat and Lisa Cullen, Frank and Janet Seaton, Mark and Kim Linam and Kathy Williams.
Volunteers working a “wine pull” sold corks with numbers on them for $25 each. At the end of the night, the bottles were given to the winners with the corresponding corks. Wines were priced from $25 to $600 and included selections from Joseph Phelps, Opus One and Dom Perignon, among others.