By Jessica Wang
The swinging tunes of upbeat jazz filled the air of Cal Poly Pomona’s Rose Garden and Aratani Japanese Garden on Sunday afternoon as guests mingled over food and drinks at the ninth annual Southern California Tasting and Auction.
Held on the first Sunday of May every year, the gathering included cuisine samplings from popular restaurants, varieties of fine wine and craft beer, live music and auctions. Proceeds from the event go toward academic enrichment opportunities for CPP students.
University President Soraya Coley spoke to the members of the crowd to thank them for their contributions, while attributing these contributions to the academic success of the campus community.
“We’re just so pleased to have you come out and enjoy this beautiful weather and to connect with one another, [while also enjoying] the outstanding food and other items in this great region,” said Coley.
“It is important for you to recognize how important this event is to our students, because as a result of your contributions, we’re able to continue to offer scholarship support and other aid to very well-deserving students this year,” added Coley. “We had more than 48,000 applications for about 4,000 slots, and [so] we want to make sure that we can do whatever we can to keep [students] on the path towards graduation.”
More than 60 vendors were in attendance for the event, including Brio Tuscan Grille, Deep Eddy Vodka and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. Familiar campus eateries such as The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch, Kellogg West Conference Center & Hotel, the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch, Innovation Brew Works and the Poly Trolley were also in attendance.
Also among the various vendors was Scoops on Tap, a business that specializes in beer-infused ice cream, which made its debut at the event.
Based in Claremont and created by CPP alumnus Sam Howland (’15, hospitality management) and senior business student Bryan Marasco, Scoops on Tap has managed to garner popularity within the festival scene and is even in talks to hit restaurants and retailers.
Howland discussed working for Dale Bros. Brewery, a vendor also in attendance and stationed right next to Scoops on Tap, and how his love for beer and ice cream ultimately collided with the help of longtime friend and CPP student Marasco, a business student set to graduate this spring.
“We’ve been around since July, and we’re doing a bunch of events and festivals. We’re also working with five different breweries right now,” said Howland. “Also, because Bryan is still in school and has a job ” and I still have a full-time job [with Dale Bros. Brewery] ” we’ve really been trying to build this company on the backs of other full-time lives.”
“Being an [alumnus] of Cal Poly [Pomona], we’re super excited to be here because we always kind of looked at this event every year and were like, ‘man, we want to be there,'” added Howland.
Also in attendance was Pine Haven Cafe & Catering located in Upland. Milo Dorman, head chef of the restaurant, shared his excitement of being at the event for the fourth year.
“This is how we do our advertising, [so] people can come out and try [our food] and know what we’re all about,” said Dorman. “We do all homemade stuff, like the pork belly mac and cheese and our potato chips are homemade. We’re not about the processed frozen foods.”
The event also featured both silent and live auctions for items, such as autographed memorabilia from sports stars in the likes of Reggie Jackson and Peyton Manning, a Bruce Springsteen photo collage that features the original cover of Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love” album adorned with his autograph and even an Italian getaway vacation to Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy.
The event featured music from Kenny Sara & The Sounds of New Orleans while guests sipped on wine and cocktail samplings to the upbeat, saxophone-filled music of the south.
Guests were also able to vote for their favorite concoctions and food items for the People’s Choice Awards, which featured categories such as Best of Show, Best Brew, Best Spirits, Best Vino and more.
Aubrey Porras, a Cal State Fullerton graduate, heard about the event through a Facebook events page from CPP friends.
“I like the food. It’s really good, [and] the atmosphere is nice. I’d definitely want to come back,” said Parros.
Adrian Danganan / The Poly Post
Southern California Tasting and Auction
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