Sooke Harbourside Lions rehearsing for A Taste of BC being held on February 7. Left to right: Alison Hogan

Locals can acquire A Taste of BC

Sooke Harbourside Lions host annual extravaganza of food and wine

She called them the “Magnificent 7” jokingly but in reality they are doing some pretty magnificent things. Rae Williamson is one of the newest members of the seven person team that is putting together A Taste of BC for the Sooke Harbourside Lions on February 7.

Each year a committee is formed to bring all the elements together for the one-night extravaganza of local and regional wines, beer and food.

This year there are a a couple of new faces; Alison Hogan, Maxine Medhurst and Rae Williamson.

Alison Hogan was a participant at last years Taste of BC and this year she is participating. That was enough to hook her in, it got her involved withe the Harbourside Lions. With a past history in the hospitality industry, she came to the Sooke area just over a year ago and opened a B&B (4 Beaches B&B) along West Coast Road.  She saw an opportunity to meet new people in the Lions club and they saw a willing volunteer member in her.

“It’s unique in terms of a small town,” said Hogan of Sooke. “There’s no class structure.”

Maxine Medhurst loves the community spirit in Sooke and that made the transition from Prince George a whole lot easier, that and wanting to be closer to family in Victoria.

“I absolutely love it, it’s a fabulous place to live,” said Medhurst. “I used to be a newbie, now I’m a Sookie.”

Rae Williamson is an artist and joined the Lions to be involved in the community she calls home. Joining the Lions has given her the opportunity to participate in a whole lot of things.

“It is an amazing kind of sisterhood,” she said of the Harbourside Lions.

The other women on the committee each say the same thing. Jo Russell said, “It is a town of all sorts,” and Cathy Rogers said, “It’s real.”

“I’ve made more friends in two years than in 20 years in Colwood,” said member Joanne Payment.

Personality is what Sooke has and it is what makes each of the women involved in A Taste of BC want to do things.

“It’s the same as last year, only different,” said Stephanie Jenkins. She said they have different wineries and breweries and some familiar and some new food contributions. Cider from Merridale will be among this year’s offerings.

It’s not all alcohol fueled fun, there is steeped teas, Stick in the Mud coffees, soda from the Victoria Soda Works and Phillips Tonic. There’s the Taste of India, River Road Chocolates and JD’s Sunshine Jams and Such among the food selections.

The 7th Annual A Taste of BC takes place at Edward Milne community school on Saturday, February 7 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

There is a fabulous silent auction and Janet McTavish entertaining. The stars of the event of course are the beverages and foods. The event was sold out last year and tickets ($35) can be purchased now at Shoppers Drug Mart, Pemberton Holmes, Little Vienna Bakery, Peoples Drug Mart and EMCS.

Our successes are the community’s success, said Jenkins. The success of the event allows the Harbourside Lions to help others. Most of the money raised in Sooke stays in Sooke.

The 55 plus members of the Sooke Harbourside Lions allows them to support local organizations such as; Camp Shawnigan, an Easter Seals Project; Sooke Christmas Bureau, Sooke Food Bank. Sooke Hospice, Sooke Crisis Centre, Run for the Cure, the Transition House in Sooke, Tour de Rock, Meals on Wheels, Change for Diabaetes, Toonie Tuesdays, Santa Anonymous and several other groups.