We can pretend that fancy people attend a wine tasting to swirl and sniff the vinted and bottled goodness of grapes, to discuss bouquet, taste, texture and finish of each fine glass before spitting it out. And perhaps those folks will be there, but Grape Escape is also a wonderful opportunity to show your support for the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC) while enjoying a selection of over 170 wines from all over the world. Local restaurants and caterers will also be presenting hor d’ouevres and tastings of their menu offerings.

Barbara Wiggins, executive director of TPAC, is excited to announce four restaurants that will be there for the first time: Bobo’s, a Topeka classic, will be there with apple pie (seveneightfive‘s recommended pairing: a crisp Reisling.); Blue Moose Bar & Grill, who in the past year opened up in the space that originally housed Brick Oven restaurant; Pizagel’s, which serves bagels sandwiches, and pizzas made on a bagel crust (seveneightfive‘s perfect pizza pairings: a peppery white zinfandel, or the traditional Italian chianti.); and Three Fires Steakhouse, which provides fine dining at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort. Returning this year is Paisano’s Italian Ristorante, after being absent from Grape Escape for a while. We don’t know for sure, but we recommended looking for stuffed mushrooms at their table (seveneightfive‘s recommended pairing: a dry red like merlot, to complement the earthy flavor of the mushroom.)

Once you’re well lubricated, visit the silent auction tables. You’ll find everything from gift certificates from local businesses, to themed gift baskets, and even experiences, such as “Jazz on the Holton Square,” which includes two tickets to a jazz concert and a bottle of wine, or a Holiday Party with free room rental at TPAC and catering gift certificate from Pacha’s by the Pound.

The event wraps up with a very lively live auction in the theatre. Take your seat and take part in the bidding as big ticket items, like KU football suite tickets, cases of fine wine, and a one week use of a home in the gorgeous Rouge Valley near Crater Lake National Park in Oregon go up for auction.

Even if you’re not a wine drinker, Grape Escape has you covered. Enjoy Jack Daniel’s cocktails and beers from Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing Companies in the Bier Garten. There will also be a cash bar in the Lounge for your other beverage needs.

Sponsored by Glazer’s of Kansas, the doors at TPAC will open at 6:30 p.m. for the event. You can still buy tickets at their box office today. Grape Escape is TPAC’s primary fundraising event. It helps provide the financial support needed to bring great acts to Topeka and provide educational programs to the community.

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