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Grape Escape To Benefit Schools

Annual event set for Feb. 6

Community support for local schools is coming on strong even before the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation's (WSVEF) 4th annual Gorge Grape Escape.

Event coordinator and foundation vice-president Sue Davis says a very generous sponsor has stepped forward even before the big event. Innovative Composite Engineering (ICE) of Bingen has pledged to underwrite all sponsorship costs of the event. In addition ICE will be a featured table sponsor, adding another $1000 to their already generous sponsorship.

"This is great news going into our annual major fundraiser," said Davis. "Having all costs already sponsored, means every dollar pledged or spent at the event will go straight to school programs or our endowment fund."

ICE's founder Steve Maier describes his company's commitment this way: "ICE has called this community home for the past 20 years, and we support the foundation as they bring much-needed supplemental funding to core academic areas and elective programs such as music, robotics, computers, art, and shop. Offering a well-developed curriculum in core academic subjects and in electives is critical to enabling children to find and pursue what they are passionate about. These opportunities can help students to see their options moving forward from high school, and can thus contribute to our community's prosperity."

Local companies that have pledged support for the Gorge Grape Escape include SDS Lumber Company, Sagetech Corporation, Underwood Fruit & Warehouse Co., Insitu, ICE, and the Best Western Hood River Inn. Each has purchased $1000 Table Sponsorships, or made in-kind contributions, and has generously demonstrated its commitment to the success of the foundation and our school district.

District superintendent Dale Palmer says with the state facing a $5.7 to $7 billion shortfall this year, the WSVEF's efforts are just in time. "At a time when the school district will be facing certain cuts in staff and budgets, the education foundation's donations will become even more critical than before the budget crisis."

You can help local schools by attending the Gorge Grape Escape. The event will be held at the Hood River Inn on Friday, Feb. 6.

Taste a sampling of area wines from Wind River Cellars, North Shore Wine Cellars, Shady Grove Winery, The Pines 1852, Phelps Creek Vineyards and Springhouse Cellar Wines.

Peruse silent auction items while enjoying hearty appetizers, and get a glimpse of some of the exciting grants the foundation has funded to date.

Later in the evening, a live auction will feature fabulous getaways to Sun Valley, the Teton Valley, and New York, as well as fine art by renowned Gorge artists, ski clinics, wines, and more.

Tickets are $45, and can be purchased at www.the-gorge-grape-escape.com or by calling 493-2026.

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