LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese State University Foundation and Downtown Development Authority joined forces this year to allow patrons a chance to sample a variety of wines for a good cause.
Wine connoisseurs made their way to downtown Lake Charles on Saturday for the 8th Rouge et Blanc.
The event is a major fundraiser for the McNeese Banner Series.
"Banners is an arts and humanities program. We do K-12 in collegiate educational outreach," explained McNeese Banners Director, Patricia Prudhomme.
Ticket and wine sales go directly toward their programs.
More than 200 wines and over 30 restaurants were set up for patrons to sample.
"The wine, you get some you like, you get some you don't like. That's what a tasting is about," said patron Wade VanWinkle.
Either way, VanWinkle came prepared.
With both hands full, he nodded at his wine lanyard saying, "it frees your hand up," a good idea for the event which also included food.
"Today, we're serving our crawfish cornbread and shrimp cornbread casseroles. They're kind of specialty items pretty well-known here in Southern Louisiana and especially this time of year," said Aryn Keen of Big Easy Foods.
Tables and chairs lined the grassy areas at Historic City Hall and the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, making it a perfect opportunity for socializing.
"The event is going wonderful. It's beautiful, it's shady, lots of food, lots of good wine," said patron John Fontenot.
Even those working enjoyed the day.
"I love coming to this event every year. We have a good time with McNeese and everyone involved and it's a fun event," said Robert Conner of DFV Wines.
"So far, so good. Our booths been packed the entire time. We've been having a lot of fun with it and a lot of customers are coming up and asking good questions about all the wines," said Matthew Currin of The Wine Group.
And although it was a tasting, some had their preferences.
"I like the chardonnays probably better than the cabernets but all of them seem to be excellent," said patron John Stubblefield.
And this year's event was sold out, with 1,500 tickets sold. So, if you missed out, "keep an eye out so that you can participate in the fun next year," said Prudhomme.
Last year, $70,000 was raised to support the McNeese Banner Series.