Event raises funds for new exhibits and support youth programs

PASO ROBLES — For a great cause, over 100 guests had cioppino for the 20th Annual Cioppino & Vino fundraiser benefiting the Paso Robles Children’s Museum. The fundraiser is the museum’s largest and only fundraiser of the year, with proceeds supporting the museum’s programs and daily operations. 

“We used this year’s event to honor the 20 year anniversary of the museum and Tom Martin’s legacy to build a place where we can engage children in a joyful learn-through-play environment,” said Museum Board President Joanna Maxted.

The Children’s Museum, located at the Paso Robles Volunteer Firehouse, is a nonprofit that serves children and families in the community. The museum offers playful environments where the youth can learn while having fun. They provide various youth programs, a place to host birthday parties, and often partner with other youth based programs in the community.

This year’s event moved from the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom to the Paso Robles Event Center, which allowed for the museum’s cherished Old Mack Firetruck to be brought to the fundraiser and used as a backdrop for photos. On Sunday, chefs and judges came together to first make the cioppino — an Italian strew of fish, shellfish, tomatoes, and seasonings. 

This year’s competing chefs were: 

  • Andrei Kibrik of I Love to Cater
  • Trish Jacobs of Paso Catering Co.
  • Rachel Ponce of Pair with Chef Rachel
  • Jeffry Wiesinger of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ
  • Gregg Wangard of Kelle Co To Go
  • Nick Nolan of Trumpet Vine Catering 

The honorable judges were Chris Batlle (Might Cap Mushrooms), Debbie Thomas (food, wine, and travel writer and retired restaurateur), Jennifer Olson (Creative Director of Edible San Luis Obispo Magazine), Pepper Daniels (local radio personality and program director), and Rachel Haggstrom (Chef of Restaurant at Justin).

The winner of this year’s People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice was Chef Jeffry Wiesinger of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ.

Maxted adds that new elements were added to the fundraiser, including several new chefs and judges and various live auction packages like a VIP family fun fair package, VIP Concerts in the Park package, and an ‘Instant’ Cellar and Wine Fridge with 36 bottles from top producers.

Over $28,00 was raised at this year’s fundraiser. Maxted says proceeds will, “go towards a variety of programs at the Museum, including supporting school field trips, autism nights, maintenance on existing exhibits, and the creation of new exhibits and programs.”

She added, “We have several new exhibits that are currently being planned and also the expansion of our free field trips program.”

Volunteer’s at the museum are excited to be in the process of creating a new tricycle path exhibit to enhance the outdoor play experience and promote physical activity and coordination for children. They are also currently working on a fundraising plan to build an entirely new, interactive, permanent museum exhibit highlighting the Central Coast’s agricultural industry to educate and excite children about local produce’s journey from farm to table. 

In this exhibit, children will pull grape clusters off vines, pluck pomegranates off trees, and shake almonds off branches before putting them all back again, according to Maxted.

“Our ultimate objective is to foster a love for learning, spark creativity, support parents and caregivers, and provide a safe and engaging space for children to explore, discover, and develop crucial skills that will serve them throughout their lives,” says Maxted about the museum’s purpose in the community.

She adds, “We aim to remain accessible to all members of the community, regardless of financial background. To continue to provide these amazing services to children in our community, build new exhibits, and keep up with museum maintenance we rely on the generous support from our community and are incredibly grateful to all our donors and patrons.”

The Museum is located at 623 13th St. in the heart of downtown Paso Robles. For more information, visit pasokids.org


2024 Cioppino & Vino | Contributed

(From left) Event Coordinator Teresa Dellagana, Chef Jeffry Wiesinger, and Operations Manager Yoana Sandoval were all smiles at the Cioppino & Vino fundraiser. Photo provided by Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ