La Salle Community Celebrates 53rd Annual Yulefest

Carlie Weigel, Assistant Editor

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  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

  • Yulefest is the oldest annual social fundraiser at La Salle. Donors are invited to taste wine, and enjoy a buffet dinner.

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On the first Saturday of December each year, La Salle hosts its longest standing tradition, Yulefest. This year, on Saturday, Dec. 7, the sold-out event took place, with 500 tickets purchased by members of the La Salle community.

Yulefest began in 1966 when the school first opened, and was originally inspired by the Christian Brothers. 

In Napa Valley, California, the Brothers owned a winery and vineyard. There, they created their very own Christian Brothers wine. At La Salle, parents of students were then invited into the residence of the Brothers who lived on campus for tasting of the wine. 

“[They] were really hospitable [and] they really loved wine,” said La Salle’s Vice President of Advancement, Ms. Andrea Burns.

By late 1970, the event was run by volunteers, and in addition to serving wine, there was prepared food. The same “special” meatball recipe is still used today.

The event begins at 6 p.m., when guests are greeted at the main entrance of the school and invited to different waystations that offer wine from about fifteen different wineries. Around 7 p.m., a buffet opens for dinner and dessert, and at 9 p.m. dancing is accompanied by a DJ until 11 p.m. 

Director of Alumni Giving Ms. Michelle Crimmins and Advancement Associate Ms. Melanie McCaffery worked directly with the Alumni Board, as they spend months each year putting the event together. Ms. Debbie Carter and Ms. Stephanie Gottsch, members of the Board, were the chairs of the event and stepped up as lead volunteers. 

This year, setup took three days. Nearly 60 Christmas trees were donated for decorating, lights were hung up throughout the main hallway, National Art Honor Society students helped to embellish the windows, and teachers put ornaments the donated Christmas trees. “My favorite part is watching that transformation happen,” Ms. Burns said. “I wish that we had a video camera that videotaped the whole [setup].”

Several athletic teams also usually aid the event, and in return they are gifted a donation. “We need the manpower [and] the volunteer support, and they’re looking for ways to raise money for their programs,” Ms. Burns said.

This year, all tickets purchased by Nov. 8, for the early bird special, were $50 a person, and any tickets purchased after that were $60 a person. Younger alumni, who have graduated in the last 10 years, but are over the age of twenty-one, were able to receive $10 off. 

All proceeds from the event benefit the work of the Alumni Association, which then returns the favor and supports the school, including with scholarships. Currently, the Association is also supporting campus development efforts, such as the Saalfeld Athletic Center, with the raised funds.