Country singer makes splash at fundraiser

John Rich of Big and Rich is in town for this weekend's Entwine wine auction.

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WALLA WALLA -- It might seem like an unusual brew -- optional black tie attire, fine wine and elegant food, all paired with John Rich at Saturday's eighth annual Entwine.

The gala event is the signature fundraiser for the Walla Walla Community College Foundation, which provides scholarships for area students.

Rich, a former member of the band Lonestar and now half of country music's Big and Rich, is known for prolific songwriting and not being afraid of a little controversy here and there.

He writes and sings of kicking some booty, the little guy vs. Big Money and indulging in a few of life's excesses -- whiskey and women, for example.

The 37-year-old singer won the 2011 Celebrity Apprentice title on Donald Trump's reality show in May and welcomed his second son with his wife, Joan, last month.

Rich, it can be said, is busy.

Yet he's in Walla Walla Saturday to host the evening of wine, cuisine, art and entertainment for the cause, as well as provide Entwine ticket holders with a custom concert. "Which he has never done before," noted foundation development specialist Alisa Gilbert. "This is an exclusive opportunity for our guests."

Rich will be joined by master chef Antonio Campolio and more than 40 master vintners, she added. The evening will boast a four-course dinner and a silent auction.

Tickets are $150 per person and there are a few left, but advance sale is required, Gilbert said. The event starts at 6 p.m. with a VIP reception at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center.

Dinner and auctions begins at 7 p.m. For more information call 524-5161.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

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