VASH hosts 8th annual Uncorked Food and Wine Festival

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It can be something as small as helping a tourist replace lost identification, to something much more grave, like supporting a family through tragedy should a loved one perish while on vacation.

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It can be something as small as helping a tourist replace lost identification, to something much more grave, like supporting a family through tragedy should a loved one perish while on vacation.

It is the mission of VASH — the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii Island — extending help in moments of crisis.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen when the phone rings,” executive director Karen Rose said of the myriad calls for assistance her staff handles. “They never know what the day is going to be.”

Last year, the organization helped 1,200 people on the Big Island. The aid isn’t lost on the visitors who benefit, either, as personal cards and thank you notes decorate its office. One person recently thanked VASH for showing them the true definition of ohana.

“Now I really know what it means,” Rose recounted the visitor telling the VASH team.

For the eighth year in a row, the nonprofit is hosting its biggest fundraiser of the year to help it carry out its mission. The Shops at Mauna Lani’s Uncorked Food and Wine Festival will offer up top notch food, wine, auction items and entertainment from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 11.

“It’s a really nice evening where everyone comes together,” Rose said of the event that keeps growing, “and keeps getting better.”

Patrons should bring a healthy palate.

Guests will sample a wide range of food tastings from the “izakaya-style” menu of Monstera, European flavors of The Blue Room, upscale vegan cuisine from Under the Bodhi Tree, contemporary island style by Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, as well as the traditional sizzle of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Not to be outdone, acclaimed Kohala Coast restaurants will share samples of their specialties, including Mai Grille by Chef Allen Hess, Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Sushi Shiono, Pueo’s Osteria and The Fairmont Orchid, among others.

Libations will be poured by Southern Wine and Spirits, Kona Brewing Co. and more.

“We have some really great chefs,” Rose said of the culinary masters taking part. “It’s a nice, classy event.”

And it’s an event with silent auctions items easily as impressive as the cuisine.

Among the packages on which one can bid is a vacation to the wine country of Tuscany, Italy. For those who prefer to do their vacationing domestically, a jaunt to Chicago with tickets to a Cubs baseball game will also be up for grabs.

Tickets, $65 in advance or $80 on the day of the event, are still available. Around 350 people are expected and vocalist Binti Bailey will entertain guests with her diverse musical talent.

“She’s one of the island’s most beautiful voices,” Rose said.

A performer in-demand in Kona clubs and music venues, Bailey will release her premiere CD, “Honestly,” this year. She weaves between blues to classical, jazz and soul.

“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” Baily said in a press release. “I started in the church, and much of my exposure was in my household. My dad used to sing with us a lot and we would listen to artists like Sam Cooke and Pavarotti, so it was nice and diverse. He took us to Broadway and to Sweet Honey in the Rock. We were always exposed to music.”

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Tickets may be purchased online in advance at www.uncorked2017maunalani.bpt.me.

Info: Call 885-9501, or visit www.ShopsAtMaunaLani.com.