event recap: Prayers From Maria’s Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival

Disclosure: Prayers From Maria offered me an opportunity to attend to their Sunflower Soirée and Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival events. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As you might have read earlier this week, Hans and I attended the Sunflower Soirée benefiting the locally founded non-profit, Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation. As we drove home that evening, I reflected on the wonderful time we had, but was giddy for what was to come the next day, the Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival. Last year, we had the opportunity to attend this event on Old Detroit Road in Rocky River, so we knew we were in for another night full of fun on the West side.

While the event started at 4pm, Hans and I had some adult-ing (read: lawn care, laundry and open house prepping) that kept us from arriving until 7pm. We had catching up to do from our late arrival, so we dove into the offerings at the wine and beer gardens.

Wine collage 1

With an estimated 7000 plus guest anticipated, the energy was high and the streets were bustling with what felt like the entire population of Rocky River!

Prayers Kent 2

Photo provided by Kent Klodnick

We tasted a few wines before heading over to the VIP area near the main stage. The lounge was decked out with a full bar, eats from Giant Eagle (one of the event’s sponsors) and some comfy couches and bright colors from L’Nique Linens (where I work, FYI). We settled in as our friends grabbed some food from the Touch Supper Club food truck, one of many that attended the event to offer food selections to the patrons. Touch’s fries were a big winner with our group!

Wine collage 2

After hours of good eats, plenty of drinks and fantastic company, 9pm was upon us and it was time to rock out to Billy Morris and the Sunset Strip, an 80′s tribute band. Hans and I found ourselves right up front near the stage to dance and sing the night away with 7000 of our closest friends. What a blast — we could have stayed all night!

Prayers Kent 1

Photo by Kent Klodnick

LONG STORY SHORT: If you’re looking for a fun night out on Cleveland’s West side next July, get Prayers From Maria’s Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival on your calendar and buy your tickets in advance. It’s becoming one of my favorite summer events, and for great reason. Not only do you get a fun night out, you support another important Cleveland non-profit doing great work in our community.

Learn more about Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation and their programs at their website, prayersfrommaria.org. Follow them at  FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And save the date for their August 30th Fox 8 Fox Trot 5K & 1 Miler — learn more/register here.

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event recap: Prayers From Maria’s Sunflower Soirée 2015

Disclosure: Prayers From Maria offered me an opportunity to attend to their Sunflower Soirée and Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival events. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you drive down I-90 heading West towards Lorain County in the next few months, you’ll see an impressive line of bright yellow sunflowers. They are hard to miss, and are helping to spread awareness for a locally founded non-profit, Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation. Get a glimpse at their work in this YouTube video:

Maria McNamara passed away on July 14, 2007 at the age of seven after a battle with cancer. Her parents Ed and Megan started Prayers From Maria to be able to fund global research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for childhood brain tumors, known as gliomas.

To be able to support those efforts, Prayers From Maria hosts fundraisers such as their very well known Sunflower inspired events that took place earlier this month. Invited to join in on the fun and fundraising, Hans and I headed out to the North Shore for their 2015 Sunflower Soirée:

Soiree collage 1

In another behind the scenes moment, I had the pleasure of helping to set up for the event as I’ve recently joined the L’Nique Linens team — you’ll find our linens featured on all the tables. Even upon arrival that morning, I knew the 600+ guests were in for a treat.

The cocktail hour included adult beverages from Brown-Forman (including my new favorite summer drink of a Finlandia grapefruit flavored vodka & soda with a twist of lime), and pre-dinner eats from Deagan’s, B-Spot, The Greenhouse Tavern, Fahrenheit and Market Garden Brewery. GHT’s cabbage slaw with pomegranates and jalapeños was a personal favorite!

Soiree collage 2

As the guests enjoyed the picturesque setting on a private estate in Rocky River, we casually enjoyed a feast while watching the sunset over Lake Erie. The evening’s menu, crafted by Chef Rocco Whalen from Fahrenheit, included:

  • Arugula, Pistachios, Ricotta Impastata, Honey and Black Pepper Vinaigrette with Summer Berries
  • Roasted White Gulf Shrimp
  • Fregola Sarda Pasta, Roasted Tomato Broth, Caramelized Mushrooms, Saved Fennel
  • Roasted Bell & Evans Chicken with Crisp Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes, Ohio Sweet Corn Puree, Pecorino Romano
  • Grilled CAB Flat Iron Steak with Lemon-Roasted Asparagus, Salsa Genovese
  • Caramelized Zucchini with Tomato Ragu, Parmesan
  • Ricotta Cavatelli with Fennel Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Bread Crumbs, Aglio E Olio
  • Vanilla & Honey Pot de Creme with Strawberry Prserves, Candied Granola, Basil

Soiree collage 3

There’s something about an Arugula salad with soft cheese and berries that makes my heart happy. Plus the family style dinner was a smart approach, and allowed for great conversation at my table about what components we loved the most. Big hits for me included the Bell & Evans chicken, the Lemon-Roasted Asparagus with Salsa Genovese (reminded me of Fahrenheit’s awesome tapenade) and the dessert. I consider it a crime to turn down a pot de crème!

Finishing out the evening with a powerful video and live and silent auctions, it was a memorable event and one I’d love to attend again in the future! This was the last year that the Sunflower Soirée would be held at this location, so it will be fun to see where it takes place next year. We made sure to soak up the environment as much as we could.

Soiree collage 4

But we were only one night in to a two night event extravaganza — check back on Thursday to read more about our experience at the Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival that Saturday… #staytuned

Learn more about Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation and their programs at their website, prayersfrommaria.org. Follow them at  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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GIVEAWAY: 2015 Twilight at the Zoo {benefiting the Cleveland Zoological Society}

Disclosure: I was offered two tickets to the 2015 Twilight at the Zoo, plus two tickets to giveaway to a lucky reader! As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos c/o the Cleveland Zoo Society / Dale McDonald Photography.

It’s hard to believe that one of my favorite Cleveland summer events – Twilight at the Zoo presented by Medical Mutual -- will be here before we know it. This event, benefiting the Cleveland Zoological Society, is taking place on Friday, August 7 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I had to miss last year’s — that won’t be happening ever again!

twilight at the zoo august 7

Twilight at the Zoo spotlights 18 local bands, offering a wide variety of music that ranges from funk to folk to rock to reggae. Admission for all includes eats, complimentary Samuel Adams beer, Twisted Tea, wine and soda. You can’t miss this summer event!

If it’s your first Twilight, read up on what you should know before you go, a post I wrote a few years back. If it’s you’re an old Twilight pro, you’re wanting to know the list of all the bands that the 2015 event:

twilight_bon jovi band

Twilight guest jammin’ out to one of the 18 bands, Wanted — my favorite!

Don’t miss the wildest party of the summer — purchase your tickets today

  • General admission tickets are $80 during the month of July; or $700 for a block of 10.
  • VIP party tickets are already SOLD OUT! VIP ticket holders receive priority parking, early entry (6PM!), an open bar, and food from Fresh Fork Market, AMP 150, Carrabba’s and more in the VIP party presented by Scene Magazine.

twilight_VIP party restaurant samplings

…or enter to win my GIVEAWAY of two general admission tickets to this event! Use the Rafflecopter to enter today:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until this Sunday, July 19 at 11:59PM EST to enter. The winner will be announced the following day. As this is a local event taking place in Cleveland from 7PM-12AM on Friday 8/7/15, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend the event – or would like to win them for someone that can go! 

Want even more fun at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this summer?? Check out the Zoo’s site for information on their Date Night at the ZOOvies presented by Cleveland Airport System on Friday, August 21.

Keep up with the Cleveland Zoological Society by visiting their website, and following them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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