Romancing the Desert showcases a unique desert with wine by moonlight

By on July 30, 2014
Guests walk along the boardwalk through the desert sampling wine and gourmet food at stations along the way in this photo from last year’s event. This year’s theme is Moonlight Serenade, and guests will learn about how animals “serenade” each other. (Keith Lacey file photo)

Guests walk along the boardwalk through the desert sampling wine and gourmet food at stations along the way in this photo from last year’s event. This year’s theme is Moonlight Serenade, and guests will learn about how animals “serenade” each other. (Keith Lacey file photo)

This year’s Romancing the Desert event, set for Saturday, Aug. 9, has adopted the theme Moonlight Serenade, which is appropriate for an outdoor wine and gourmet experience at the Osoyoos Desert Centre under a full moon.

The Osoyoos Desert Society, which holds the event as an annual fundraiser, will reflect the theme in several ways, said Denise Eastlick, executive director.

“It will feature how animals serenade each other, how they communicate with each other,” said Eastlick. “That will be the theme of the guided tour.”

While the event will allow guests to learn about and experience the romance of an evening in the desert, it’s also a chance to taste gourmet food and wine from some of the best restaurants and wineries in the area.

Guides will lead guests in smaller groups along the Desert Centre’s boardwalk to a number of tasting stations.

Also, Moonlight Serenade was a clarinet and saxophone tune popularized in 1939 by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra as their signature song.

The music at this year’s Romancing is a nod to the jazz roots of Moonlight Serenade.

“We’ve got a wonderful (music) group coming this year called Sax Among Friends,” said Eastlick, who was glad she was being interviewed for print and not radio where the group’s name might be misinterpreted.

“That will be really wonderful, and it will support the theme as well because they’ll be doing everything from big band music to mood-related songs.”

The different themes are an attempt to keep the event fresh for the many local people who return to Romancing the Desert, said Eastlick. This year is the 15th anniversary of the event.

“We get a lot of people that come back year after year after year,” she said, noting that attendance is typically 200.

The sponsors also change each year, although some of the long-time supporters such as Nk’ Mip Cellars, Watermark Beach Resort and Road 13 Vineyards are back this year.

Many visitors, however, come from more distant locations, Eastlick said.

“We very routinely get people from the coast and from Alberta who come up specifically for the event,” she said. “And we’re getting a pretty good contingent of returning people from Alberta and the coast who are coming every year.”

She acknowledges that some local people have never attended the event.

“If you are in the area and haven’t been, we would love to see you there,” she said. “It’s well worth doing. Whether you’re new to the area or whether you’ve been here a long time and you think, ‘One of these years I need to do it’ … this is as good a year as any time to do it.”

After the tour, guests will have a main course prepared by Watermark Beach Resort. There is a silent auction with items donated by a number of local businesses.

“It would number probably over 100 businesses who support us in different ways for the event, so it really is to showcase the community,” said Eastlick. “And the habitat here on the guided tour. What makes us unique is the setting. There are other wine and food events, but we’re in the middle of this desert environment with the guided tour experience of being able to walk right through it and learn about it from an experienced guide.”

She recalled her first experience with Romancing the Desert, when a full moon rose and cleared the hillside and a female deer and fawn walked in front of the moon.

“To be out on the boardwalk at dusk, it is magic,” said Eastlick. “It really is a unique setting and a unique experience to be out there.”

Money raised by the event goes to support the Osoyoos Desert Society’s mission of habitat conservation and restoration and education, said Eastlick.

The event starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9 and runs well into the evening.

Tickets are $65 per person and must be purchased in advance by calling 250-495-2470 or 1-877-899-0897 or by emailing mail@desert.org.

This year’s Romancing the Desert event, set for Saturday, Aug. 9, has adopted the theme Moonlight Serenade, which is appropriate for an outdoor wine and gourmet experience at the Osoyoos Desert Centre under a full moon.

The Osoyoos Desert Society, which holds the event as an annual fundraiser, will reflect the theme in several ways, said Denise Eastlick, executive director.

“It will feature how animals serenade each other, how they communicate with each other,” said Eastlick. “That will be the theme of the guided tour.”

While the event will allow guests to learn about and experience the romance of an evening in the desert, it’s also a chance to taste gourmet food and wine from some of the best restaurants and wineries in the area.

Guides will lead guests in smaller groups along the Desert Centre’s boardwalk to a number of tasting stations.

Also, Moonlight Serenade was a clarinet and saxophone tune popularized in 1939 by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra as their signature song.

The music at this year’s Romancing is a nod to the jazz roots of Moonlight Serenade.

“We’ve got a wonderful (music) group coming this year called Sax Among Friends,” said Eastlick, who was glad she was being interviewed for print and not radio where the group’s name might be misinterpreted.

“That will be really wonderful, and it will support the theme as well because they’ll be doing everything from big band music to mood-related songs.”

The different themes are an attempt to keep the event fresh for the many local people who return to Romancing the Desert, said Eastlick. This year is the 15th anniversary of the event.

“We get a lot of people that come back year after year after year,” she said, noting that attendance is typically 200.

The sponsors also change each year, although some of the long-time supporters such as Nk’ Mip Cellars, Watermark Beach Resort and Road 13 Vineyards are back this year.

Many visitors, however, come from more distant locations, Eastlick said.

“We very routinely get people from the coast and from Alberta who come up specifically for the event,” she said. “And we’re getting a pretty good contingent of returning people from Alberta and the coast who are coming every year.”

She acknowledges that some local people have never attended the event.

“If you are in the area and haven’t been, we would love to see you there,” she said. “It’s well worth doing. Whether you’re new to the area or whether you’ve been here a long time and you think, ‘One of these years I need to do it’ … this is as good a year as any time to do it.”

After the tour, guests will have a main course prepared by Watermark Beach Resort. There is a silent auction with items donated by a number of local businesses.

“It would number probably over 100 businesses who support us in different ways for the event, so it really is to showcase the community,” said Eastlick. “And the habitat here on the guided tour. What makes us unique is the setting. There are other wine and food events, but we’re in the middle of this desert environment with the guided tour experience of being able to walk right through it and learn about it from an experienced guide.”

She recalled her first experience with Romancing the Desert, when a full moon rose and cleared the hillside and a female deer and fawn walked in front of the moon.

“To be out on the boardwalk at dusk, it is magic,” said Eastlick. “It really is a unique setting and a unique experience to be out there.”

Money raised by the event goes to support the Osoyoos Desert Society’s mission of habitat conservation and restoration and education, said Eastlick.

The event starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9 and runs well into the evening.

Tickets are $65 per person and must be purchased in advance by calling 250-495-2470 or 1-877-899-0897 or by emailing mail@desert.org.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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