Jazz sets tone for Friends fundraiser

Participants in the annual Jazz and Wine Among Friends event crowd Charles Smith Wines to listen to The Crawford Glenn Band at dusk on Friday.

Participants in the annual Jazz and Wine Among Friends event crowd Charles Smith Wines to listen to The Crawford Glenn Band at dusk on Friday. Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.

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Shawn Clark and daughters Abby, 8, and Violet, 5, sit in the bed of his pickup truck on Colville Street enjoying a picnic dinner and listening to The Sound Money Band.

WALLA WALLA — Jazz musicians are wrapping up their final sets of music today at the annual Wine and Jazz Among Friends fundraiser.

The three-day multi-performer and multi-venue event kicked off Friday with a performance by Gary Hemenway at Sinclair Estate Vineyards. That was followed by three other performers playing at three different downtown venues on Friday night.

All together, eight different bands are expected to participate in the three-day event.

By Friday afternoon, close to 400 tickets had been sold for Friday and Saturday shows, with more sales expected at the door.

Event Coordinator Cheryl Thyken said today’s 10:30 a.m. Shrimp & Grits brunch sold out, but added that the preceding New Orleans parade is free to the public.

“We have a couple members that are pretty aggressive about selling tickets and getting friends to go,” Thyken said.

The New Orleans-style parade will start around 10 a.m. at First Avenue and Main Street and proceed down Main to Whitehouse Crawford, 55 W. Cherry St.

Last year, Friends helped match 33 youths with mentoring adults, who provide safe friendships to help at-risk youths know they are not facing life’s challenges alone.

“Most boys wait a year to get a male volunteer. We have 40 new matches that we know we are going to target,” Program Director Jovanna Centre said, noting that Friends is in need of male adult mentors.

Centre added that this weekend’s fundraiser, the Friends fundraiser breakfast in May and grant writing are the nonprofit’s main sources of income.

Tickets for the 12:30 p.m. brunch at Whitehouse Crawford are $40 per person and available at the Walla Walla tourism info booth at 26 E. Main St., which opens at 11 a.m. Tickets are limited.

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