Get your Passport for OUT on the TOWN

by Steven Felschundneff |

When the coronavirus pandemic prevented The Rotary Club of Claremont from holding its popular Taste of Claremont fundraising event this year, the club got creative and launched a new event called Out on the Town from October 2 to 11.

Rotary is not the only local organization that had to cancel a big event this year, however, the club did not choose the virtual route either. They wanted to hold a safe event for both patrons and vendors, while maintaining some of the fun aspects of the Taste of Claremont. The answer was to create Out on the Town, which just as it sounds, is an invitation to get out and enjoy some of our local eateries and watering holes, all while supporting Rotary.

“More than 30 local restaurants, wineries, breweries and local businesses are welcoming patrons to enjoy their experience out on the town, encouraging carry-out as well as dining al fresco onsite. The revenue from your meal and beverage purchases will stay with the business and your sense of community is yours to keep!” club officials wrote in an announcement for the event.

To participate, all one needs to do is buy a $10 “passport” from the club through an Eventbrite link on its official website or on the club’s social media platforms. The passports can be picked up at Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s office on Foothill Boulevard.

During the week beginning October 2, the plan is for participants to visit multiple partner vendors, getting a stamp on the passport at each one.

People with six or more passport stamps will qualify for prizes and can either email a photo, or stop by a passport pickup location to show their stamped passport to enter a drawing for gift baskets, and prizes will be similar to items typically raffled at the Taste event, such as a gift basket with wine, a food platter or gift certificates.

Last year the Rotary Club of Claremont raised $55,000 during the Taste of Claremont. That money goes into the club’s foundation account for local and international causes. They initially hoped to simply delay the event from its usual date in April to October 3. However, as spring became summer, hope that the pandemic would subside enough for large gatherings slowly faded and an alternative became necessary.

“The Taste committee, chaired by Mark Carson (next year’s club president), then began to meet to come up with a safe alternative, and many variations were discussed at Rotary meetings (on Zoom) as well,” Rotary Club of Claremont president Buff Wright told the COURIER.

As club members were brainstorming the new event a priority became finding a way to support the vendors who have participated in the Taste of Claremont in previous years.

A big part of that is driving customers to the various restaurants, and other businesses with passports in hand. This special edition of the COURIER—which includes ads for these businesses—which are paid for by Rotary, will benefit both the restaurants and the newspaper.

“So, as we planned and brainstormed, it was very important for us to figure out how to support these struggling restaurants & businesses at a time when they need us the most. By offering the passport, and social media posts about each and every participant, the video on social media, the postcard mailer, email mailers, and other marketing, we hope to help advertise this event along with each unique small business, to encourage local spending and to encourage people to go out and support these businesses,” Rotary Club member S.J. Antonucci said.

Rotary is also hosting an online silent auction which will launch on October 2 on their website. There will be several fabulous items donated by Rotary participants and sponsors including: Diamond earrings from Ben Bridge valued at $1,299; two weekends at an Air B&B in Lake Arrowhead donated by Tim Harrison; three-pack of award winning wine and olive oil from The Los Angeles County Fair Association; Four works of art donated by PDG Randy Pote including Thomas Kinkade painting “Cobblestone Village,” $1,850; an Andre Bardet painting “Cafe D Paris,” $1,195, and two lithographs; a pet portrait donated by Rebecca Ustrell, $100; handmade quilt with a bottle of wine and 2 glasses; a round of golf for four at Sierra Lakes Golf Course; a bicycle tune-up with tee shirt and water bottle from Competitive Edge Cyclery, $125; a free dental cleaning and exam from Dr. Cox and Patel DDS; outdoor patio dining experience hosted by Brett and Ann O’Connor and Jim and Lori Elsasser. a wall portrait of Claremont donated by Peter Weinberger; chef’s table for party of eight at Nuno’s including five-course dinner with paired wines and open bar.

There will be more auction items to come including oil changes from Connie and Dicks, donations from 4C’s and the Diamond Center, gift certificate from Bert & Rocky’s and others still in the works.

All money raised will go to the Claremont Rotary Foundation, which directly benefits programs for youth, seniors, and charitable and service organizations in our community and internationally.

The club also has a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of the advertising.

“The Out on the Town idea gelled in mid-August as a way to give back to the generous vendors from the Taste and pick up some support for Rotary if possible.  Out on the Town will drive business to the vendors (they keep the money from purchases) and we hope to derive some funding (after costs) from the passports, the GoFundMe campaign for the ads, and the auction, so that we can continue to be a support to the people and organizations of Claremont,” Ms. Wright said.



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