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Osoyoos Desert Society event will once again celebrate ‘love affair with the desert’
Lovers of the desert – and of wine and good food – will have a chance to combine their passions Saturday when the Osoyoos Desert Society holds its annual Romancing the Desert fundraiser.
The event is held each year under a full moon and showcases the unique local habitat at the Desert Centre as well as gourmet food and wines from more than a dozen local restaurants and wineries.
“What makes the event so unique is the setting,” said Denise Eastlick, executive director of the Osoyoos Desert Society. “We’re in a one-of-a-kind desert setting under a moonlit sky and then getting a chance to sample all these amazing wine and food menu items at one single event.”
Despite the romance of the setting, the event certainly isn’t just for lovers.
“I think when we say ‘romancing the desert’ it really is more about a love affair with the desert,” said Eastlick. “Certainly the event can be for couples, but a lot of times it’s very well suited for coming alone or for coming with any assortment of friends. It’s not at all just a couples event.”
This year’s theme is ‘southern nights,’ which Eastlick says means there will be southern-inspired entrée dishes and entertainment, including bluegrass and jazz. Guests will be able to walk along the Desert Centre’s 1.5 km boardwalk with a guide, sampling food and wine at stops along the way while guides share entertaining and fun facts about the habitat.
Back at the main plaza at the end of the boardwalk guests can enjoy more entrée-style dishes.
The event is the society’s major fundraising event of the year and funds are used to protect habitat both at the Desert Centre and elsewhere in the area.
Among the offsite projects of the Osoyoos Desert Society is a research partnership with some of the vineyards to test growing native plant seed mixes between the rows of vines. The advantage for the habitat is the native plants provide habitat for native wildlife. The advantage for the vineyard would be that a successful seed mix would provide a low-irrigation ground cover that would prevent soil erosion and allow the higher traffic of a vineyard, Eastlick said.
The society also partners with the Osoyoos Golf Club and every year does restoration work with native plants.
Most years Romancing the Desert attracts roughly 200 people, Eastlick said.
“The community support is phenomenal,” she said. “It’s the restaurants, the wineries, all the businesses that help make it happen. It’s all the businesses that donate towards the silent auction. It’s the wonderful support from the guests who come. Everybody should go home well fed and in love with the desert. It really is a romance with the desert.”
Tickets are $65 per person and must be purchased in advance. To reserve a space, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-495-2470. The event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.