By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A rare experience to support the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kern County is coming up at Urner's Appliance Center, 4110 Wible Road, on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The Gourmet Cinema event will combine food from three chefs, craft beers and fine wine and three different movie choices within the building. Tickets are limited -- only 50 are available -- and they cost $100 each. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m.
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Amy Raddatz, resource development manager, said the event is both a fundraiser and a celebration for the volunteers who support the group, which helps children caught up in the court system.
"Urner's has really supported us over the years, and we have the event split into three different areas of the building," she said.
The evening begins with wine and appetizers prepared by Chef Ellie Fergon from Imbibe. Guests can then choose to view any of three movies: "The Wizard of Oz," "Oz the Great and Powerful" or "Julie & Julia."
"They all fit our theme this year," Raddatz said, "which is there's no place like a home."
During intermission, chef Robert Alimirazaie from the Petroleum Club will prepare dinner. After the movie, chef Stephanie Caughell-Fisher from Gimme Some Sugar puts the capper on the night with dessert.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Kern County speaks for abused and neglected children in the juvenile dependency process. Through the use of highly trained volunteers, the CASA program seeks to provide every child who needs an advocate with a voice in the court process. The money raised at the event will help CASA to screen and train more community volunteers to become a voice for an abused and abandoned child.
You can buy tickets at the organization's website, kerncasa.org, or call the office at 631-2272.
-- Pete Tittl, Californian contributing columnist
Festivals and more
If you love to be social and enjoy great food and beverages while you're at it, Bakersfield has you covered in coming weeks.
First up is the seasonal reopening of the Guild House. Founded in 1958, the 18th Street spot's main objective is to assist and support the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. It reopens on Tuesday with a menu of leek and onion soup, lemon chicken puff and berry tarts. Lunch costs $14.95 (including a beverage), plus tax and is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (expect holidays). More information at 325-5478 or bakersfieldguildhouse.com.
This weekend marks the return of the 41st annual Greek Food Festival. The popular tradition at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church runs 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. The festival highlights the food, which has included feta fries, falafel sandwiches, lemon chicken, a barbecue dinner with sausage and meatballs as well as an assortment of baked goods from loukoumades (doughnuts drizzled with honey) to baklava.
The two-day event also features traditional dancing and music along with kids entertainment and vendors. Admission is $5 for adults, free for children under 12. The church is located at 401 Truxtun Ave.
Also on tap next weekend is Village Fest at the Kern County Museum. The event, running from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, will feature more than 30 restaurants, two dozen wineries and 60-plus breweries serving tens of thousands of food and drink samples. More than 7,000 people are expected to attend the annual event, which benefits Children's Advocates Resource Endowment.
Tickets are $68 in advance and can be purchased at Frugatti's Italian Restaurant, all Lengthwise Brewing locations or on vallitix.com. If you want to take your chances at the door, tickets are $70.
For those who want a premier dining adventure without traveling far, plan a trip to Tehachapi later this month. The Weiser Family Farms All-Star Dinner, on Sept. 21, features a selection of renowned Southland chefs. Sharpening their knives are Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor of The Hart & the Hunter, David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing with Dynamite, Ari Taymor of Alma (named Bon Appetit's best new restaurant of the year), Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon, Milo & Olive's Erin Eastland, and Huckleberry's Matt Turnquist. Desserts will be made by Zoe Nathan and Laurel Almerinda of Milo & Olive and Huckleberry.
Tickets to the dinner are $150, available at eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand and the family of Emily Rico. The event takes place at Weiser Family Farms, 19247 Highline Road, in Tehachapi.
Also in the works is Wines in the Village, Sept. 27 at the new Batey Gardens at the Kern County Museum. Running from 7 to 11 p.m., the event is a fundraiser for the museum, which has launched many projects this year, including the Kern County Nut Festival and a partnership with Talladega Frights Halloween attraction.
Tickets are $55 for members, $60 for non-members, if purchased by today, and $65 after. Call 868-8400 for details.
-- Californian assistant lifestyles editor Stefani Dias
Great American SPAM Championship at fair
Although there are many baked goods contests held each year at the Kern County Fair, few can match the popularity of the Great American SPAM Championship. The local fair is one of 26 county or state events hosting the recipe contest.
Part of the contest's appeal can be credited to a sizeable purse -- prizes range from $25 to $150 for adults and $10 to $60 for children -- as well as a shot in the national contest. The national winner is awarded an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 2014 SPAM Jam Waikiki Festival (valued at $3,000) while the top young chef wins a $2,000 cash prize. The theme of this year's competition is sandwiches. Contestants are charged with creating a spectacular SPAM sandwich of any size, shape or style (innovative or simple).
The dish must use at least one 12-oz. can of any SPAM product -- including Classic, Lite, Hot and Spicy, Hickory Smoke and more -- and up to 10 other ingredients. (Salt, pepper, cooking oil, water and garnishes don't count toward the ingredient requirements). Dishes will be judged on taste, creativity and presentation.
Entry forms, recipe (including a name for the dish) and chef statements must be turned in by Friday, Sept. 20. The contest takes place at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23.