For almost 15 years, the Summer Solstice in Del Mar has been a favorite event among local residents, but it seems the secret is out. This year, the fundraiser has been selected to host three special guests from L.A., all of them finalists from "The Next Food Network Star" television show.
This kickoff to the summer season will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. June 18 at the Powerhouse Park. The $40 admission for those 21 and over covers food tastings, wine and beer samplings, a souvenir wine glass, entertainment by Randy Fontaine and the Swingers, and the opportunity to bid on an array of silent auction items.
In addition, there will be a special appearance by three of the finalists competing to be "The Next Food Network Star."
Jen Grove, executive director for the Del Mar Village Association, said the Food Network contacted them about the possibility of featuring three local competitors at Summer Solstice.
"They were looking for a Southern California event to bring them all together," Grove said.
The aspiring chefs/T.V. stars will cook for the crowd, meet and greet fans, and promote the show.
Set against a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean just in time to catch the sunset, participants can mix and mingle with friends and neighbors while sampling fare from more than 15 local eateries, including Kitchen 1540, Pacifica Del Mar, Giorgio's Osteria Del Pescatore, Sbicca and Bully's, and sip adult beverages from nearly 30 local and regional wineries and breweries.
The majority of money generated to support community activities is derived from the silent auction. This year there are a few items available this year sure to stir a few bidding wars, specifically one year of free parking in downtown Del Mar and one night's rental of the Powerhouse Park.
What began as a fundraiser to benefit programs sponsored by the Del Mar Village Association has evolved into one of the most popular introductions to the coastal community.
"It's a way, in a sense, to see what Del Mar has to offer," Grove said.
Mary Lou Amen, a Del Mar resident and chair of the event, agreed.
"They're really getting a taste of Del Mar," Amen said. "The ambiance is what really attracts them. People love to come to Del Mar."
In addition to drawing visitors from all over the country, many participants are local residents who use the opportunity to show off their hometown to friends and family.
Last year's Summer Solstice was attended by 600 people. This year ticket sales are being capped at 700, and Grove said the event typically sells out.
- Advance tickets may also be purchased at Union Bank of California, 1435 Camino Del Mar/Highway 101, and Willis Allen Real Estate, 1424 Camino Del Mar/Highway 101.