Thirty-one downtown Murfreesboro shops and offices will welcome wine, beer and spirit tasters Saturday, September 16, from 6 until 9 p.m. to benefit the sixth annual Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation's Wine Around the Square.
WATS is a progressive wine-tasting event set around the historic downtown Square in Murfreesboro; the purpose of the event is to raise funds for the STRF's Power of Pink, Rutherford County's premier program in the fight against breast cancer.
Main Event tickets are $60 per person and VIP Party tickets are $250 per person. All tickets are available for purchase online at winearoundthesquare.org.
Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant in Murfreesboro is hosting the VIP Party from 5 until 7 p.m.
Wine, craft beers and premium spirits will be served for tasting around the downtown Square throughout the evening, thanks to event sponsor Charlie Patel and Stones River Total Beverages. This year, for the first time, a buffet supper will be served to all attendees.
"Every year we add something new," said Patty Marschel, event founder and co-chair. "This year, we wanted to give people a complete meal, so we'll be serving a full buffet supper under the trees close to the courthouse."
The supper menu includes a pork main course provided by donors Batey Farms, GFS and an anonymous gift in honor of Jimmy Palmer, and prepared by Chef Alex Belew with Alex Belew Catering. Side dishes and desserts will be provided by the Tasty Table (cornbread scones), Station Grill (hummus cups), Slick Pig (wings), Peter D's (banana pudding), The Alley on Main (green beans), Jack Brown's (fried Oreos), Five Senses (macaroni and cheese) and Murfreesboro Pure Milk (bottled water). The Christie Q BBQ and Catering (cornbread salad) and Tasty Table (fruit tea and sweet potato muffins) food trucks will be there as well.
This year, WATS entertainment includes Marshall Creek Band; Ross Lester's Everybody Drum Some; Center for the Arts surprise musical performances; and Mixtape at the Late Party from 9 p.m. until midnight at The Alley on Main.
Last year more than 1,100 people enjoyed the outdoor event. Once again this year, the entire Square will be completely blocked off so guests can walk outdoors from venue to venue and
listen to the entertainment while enjoying the evening. Each year, WATS honors local women who are breast cancer survivors; this year's Honoree is Marimae Miller White.
"Every year, the event gets bigger and everybody has even more fun," said event co-chair Rita Ash. "It's usually one of the first crisp fall evenings, and we welcome so many new and familiar faces who come out to enjoy walking, talking, tasting wines and enjoying great food and conversation. This year, we want to invite even more Rutherford County friends and neighbors to buy a ticket, come join in the fun, and help provide diagnostic breast cancer screenings for Rutherford County women who can't afford these vital medical services on their own."
Caroline Lampley and Dave Davis are also event co-chairs.
WATS is a casual, fun evening outdoors, featuring more than 75 wines, beers and spirits to sample. Each tasting venue will be staffed with volunteers who will describe and pour beverages for tasting before visitors proceed to the next station. Last year's event raised $200,595.35 to fund breast cancer screening and testing. More than 250 volunteers from local organizations such as State Farm Insurance, Nissan, Zeta Tau Alpha Alumna, Delta Sigma Theta and Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital donate their time to help make the event happen.
Event check-in is in the inner loop of the downtown Square close to the Courthouse. Paid guests will receive an admission bracelet, a WATS-etched signature wine glass and instructions for the evening.
Parking is available at the City Center Parking garage located off Vine Street or South Church Street. WATS will proceed rain or shine. Guests drinking wine must present photo identification at the event for age verification before receiving an admission bracelet. To insure a safe ride home, event organizers will alert local cab companies to make cabs available in a central location for those guests who prefer to take a cab home at the end of the evening.
Event sponsorships from $250 to $10,000 are available and include event tickets as well as corporate or personal name recognition in printed materials for the event; please contact Amy Jackson at the Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation at 615.396.4994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past 12 years, more than $1,075,000 has been raised. In fiscal year 2017, which pans July 2016 through June 2017, the Power of Pink Fund raised more than $275,000; Wine Around the Square 2016 raised 73 percent of that amount. During fiscal year 2017 the Power of Pink Fund sponsored 540 procedures, including 295 screening mammograms, 131 diagnostic mammograms, 111 breast ultrasounds and 3 breast MRIs; $15,000 in annual funding for a Nurse Navigator who assists Rutherford County women throughout their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery; and $16,459.56 in maintenance and operational expenses for the Mobile Mammography Coach.