April 05, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

It’s becoming a Bakersfield tradition. The eighth annual CSUB Party in the Park on May 7 will have some of the state’s top wineries providing samples paired with top-flight hors d’oeuvres, for an event that’s fast becoming one of Bakersfield’s don’t-miss events.

California State University, Bakersfield’s Alumni Association, along with the Bakersfield Wine Society, hosts the event which features more than 35 wineries, and attracts more than 500 people to help raise money for the Alumni Scholarship Fund. The “party” begins Friday, May 7, at 5:30 p.m. on the CSUB campus.

This marks the third year that the CSUB Alumni Association and the Bakersfield Wine Society have teamed up to host Party in the Park.

Previously, the Alumni Association and the Wine Society had scheduled their events on the same weekend in May each year. But it became apparent that neither event could grow significantly if they continued independently. So the Wine Society board of directors, many of whom are CSUB alumni, proposed to the Alumni Association board that they combine their efforts to create one big wine festival to benefit the scholarship fund at CSUB. Alumni board members agreed, which set the stage for what has become the biggest annual wine event in Bakersfield. Nearly 500 people attended the first joint festival in 2002, and more than 500 attended last year.

CSUB Alumni Relations Director Jill Slaby is hoping for about 600 attendees this year to taste the offering of some 35 California wineries, including Geyser Peak, Wild Horse, Canyon Road, Jory, Justin, Fresno State Winery, Rio Seco, Eberle, Domaine Alfred, Zaca Mesa, Arroyo Robles, Pine Ridge, Flora Springs, Morgan, Round Hill, Rutherford Ranch, Chumeia, Ortman Family Vineyards, Kenwood and Tobin James.

The purpose of the festival is to raise funds for the Alumni Scholarship Fund at CSUB. The fund provides academic scholarships for deserving students who might otherwise have difficulty affording a university education. Last year Party in the Park raised more than $7,000 for the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

CSUB Alumni Director Jill Slaby said she's thrilled with the direction CSUB’s Party in the Park has taken since the merger of the two events. "We know that the Bakersfield Wine Festival has had a large and loyal following, and that the Wine Society directors have done a great job bringing some of the state’s best wines to Bakersfield," she said. "So joining forces with them to have an even bigger and better festival is a win-win for the university and the community. We couldn’t be more pleased with how things have turned out.

“The last two years have been such a huge success that we’re really looking forward to this year’s event. Everyone who attends has a great time, so what could be better?”

Society President Harlan Shanklin said he, too, was delighted with the Party in the Park. "The Bakersfield Wine Society was formed more than 30 years ago, and this year marks the 26th year that we'll participate in a wine festival," he said. "The university's 8-year-old Party in the Park is a growing event dedicated to providing scholarships, and it’s apparent that together we’ve been able to provide an outstanding event that not only helps deserving people with their college education, but also helps people learn about the joys of wine. We're looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship."

And the wineries have recognized the value of participating in CSUB’s Party in the Park. “Bakersfield is a great venue for us, and we’re delighted to be able to help with such a worthy cause,” said Daryl Groom, president of Peak Wines International, parent company of Geyser Peak, Canyon Road and Wild Horse. “I’m aware of how important a college education is, and we’re very happy to support Cal State Bakersfield in its effort to provide scholarships for deserving students.”

A variety of hors d'oeuvres will also be served at the event, which precedes the annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival in the CSUB Amphitheater. In addition those attending will receive a commemorative wine glass.

Normally, Party in the Park is held in Alumni Park on the CSUB campus, just east of the Walter Stiern Library and north of the cafeteria. However, this year, Alumni Park is under construction, so Party in the Park will be held immediately north of Alumni Park and just south of the Amphitheater.

Cost for the tasting is $35 per person in advance, or $40 at the door, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment.

For reservations or more information, please call Slaby at (661) 664-3211.