The Highlands Food and Wine Generous Pour event is set up a bit differently than other activities throughout the weekend. Purchasing a ticket gets one into the event, but it’s a cash bar once inside. All the money raised goes to the Highlands Food Pantry.
“Anytime anybody recognizes and helps to make others aware of an issue it helps a hundredfold,” said Food Pantry Director Marty Rosenfield. “Now that there’s cold weather a lot of people are out of work. It’s the end of the season and people are getting laid off. Every year there’s more and more people in need, and there’s more need now than ever.”
Generous Pour featured craft beers, several vineyards, and signature cocktails at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on Saturday. The Watson Twins performed at the beginning of the evening to get the crowd into the groove, followed up by an energetic Langhorne Slim and the Lost At Last Band.
The event was sponsored by Highlands-Cashiers Hospital and Lupoli Construction. Owner of Lupoli Construction, John Lupoli, said on the night of the event that he would match up to $5,000 in donations. The numbers aren’t in yet, but Rosenfield said he is hoping the Pantry raises $10,000, but he knows $15,000 is possible. He added that Generous Pour raises 25 percent of the Food Pantry’s annual budget.
Lupoli said he thinks the Food Pantry was a great choice of a beneficiary for the evening’s festivities.
“There’s a huge portion of Macon County that lives in poverty,” said Lupoli. “Some 20 percent of kids don’t have a meal after they leave school for the weekend. We just need to try and make a difference in their lives. As a community, we can do that.”
Editor’s note: During Plateau Daily News’ interview with Lupoli, Rosenfield announced over the PA system that he had just received a $1,000 donation. Lupoli simply replied “Make that 2.”
Shannon Perez visited Highlands for the first time over the weekend and thinks not only is Generous Pour a fun event, but its win-win because it also contributes to a good cause.
“I think it’s an excellent thing to contribute to,” said Perez. “There are a lot of people who are less fortunate, and we just have to do what we can to help.”
Jerri Underwood from Chattanooga, Tenn., has a little more experience navigating Highlands Food and Wine weekend as he is attending the festival for the 12th time. He said he enjoys all the events throughout the weekend, but the Generous Pour is special because it’s a chance to give back.
“I think it’s a perfect way to support a worthy cause that has a great purpose,” said Underwood. “It’s something that should be done.”
Suzanne McDavid lived in Highlands for 25 years, now a Cashiers resident, said she has seen HFW grow and improve over the years, especially organizing events that benefit charities.
“In the mountains it’s tough for a lot of people who are out of work,” said McDavid. “It’s great that the town comes together to support this, you always have to support your own.”
Mykal Smith of Charlotte, N.C. said of all the activities on the HFW itinerary, she was most excited to see Langhorne Slim Perform.
“They’re such a good jam band and they bring so many people together with their cool grooves,” said Smith. “Plus, I think it’s amazing that we’re all giving back to the community. If you have, you should give to those who don’t, it’s simple. We all need a helping hand now and then.”
Aaron Kovak lives in Ontario, Canada, but had to come down to Highlands and check out HFW.
“It’s a great festival,” said Kovak. “There’s good people, good music, it’s good times. It’s good to be here right now and I’m definitely coming back.”
Watson twins Leigh and Chandra Watson, out of Nashville, Tenn., visited Highlands for the first time this weekend and mingled with the crowd after their performance.
“I think it’s always a good component to have the community sponsor a charity that supports their town,” said Leigh. “That also makes the night so much more enjoyable because you’re here for a good time but you’re also supporting something positive.”
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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