Mathew Barnett was helping his 17-month-old son Cole navigate the world of spaghetti a week ago Thursday night during the annual Cherries Jubilee event at the Chatigny Center in Beaumont.
Barnett, director of programs for the Beaumont Unified School District, brought his son to the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary-sponsored event for a good reason.
“We came to support the scholarships,” Barnett said.
The event raises money to provide scholarships for Beaumont High School students through the sale of cherry-flavored desserts made by the culinary arts students at Beaumont High.
This year, Rotary added the spaghetti dinner, which included salad and garlic bread.
Barnett said that Cole was enjoying a plate of plain spaghetti, no sauce, and garlic bread. “He’s just figuring out utensils,” Barnett said.
Cole wasn’t the only one having a good time eating the spaghetti. Approximately 250 people attended the fundraiser, said emcee Bruce Murrill.
This year, guests could buy a spaghetti dinner for $10 (which included desserts) or $5 for only desserts.
The culinary arts students made fruit squares, brownies (dried cherry and white chocolate), cream puffs, lemon squares, cinnamon roll bites, cherry/almond wedding cookies, cherry cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies.
They baked 770 pieces of cherry-flavored desserts, according to their culinary arts instructor Ross Carter.
The event draws many repeat guests each year and there’s also newcomers.
Marcia Cleveland found out about Cherries Jubilee from Murrill, whom she met five years ago at the Cherry Festival.
Cleveland is a traveling nurse who lives in Greensboro, N.C. and sometimes her business plans coincide with Cherries Jubilee and Cherry Festival when she’s in Beaumont.
This year, she was in town and was happy to be surrounded by other spaghetti lovers.
“These Rotary people are so wonderful and the community here is so wonderful,” Cleveland said.
Barbara Jackley and Beverly Jacobs, both of Beaumont, were attending their first Cherries Jubilee.
They found out about the event through flyers posted in the Solera community.
Both women were excited about eating the Italian pasta.
“It’s very flavorable,” Jackley said.
Jacobs agreed that the flavor was very much Italian-based. “It is delicious,” she said.
Those attending Cherries Jubilee also had opportunities to win gift baskets from local businesses. Each basket was unique and creative in its presentation and variety of gifts.
Lionel Burcham, 10, won a gift basket featuring a jump rope, candy and a butterfly net, along with Star Wars memorabilia.
Lionel has been attending Cherries Jubilee with his mother, Lindsey Burcham, since he was 2.
He was excited to win his gift basket “because it’s a lot of candy.” (especially Starburst).
When Lionel won, he was so excited. “His reaction made it all worth it,” Lindsey said.
One of the biggest prizes of the evening was a 55-inch TV. Steve Leach said he and his wife bought about $80 worth of tickets and so he put in quite a few tickets for the TV.
Leach’s generosity paid off. Not only did he win the TV, which will help him with office presentations for his clients seeking financial advice, he also said he had the opportunity “to give some money back to Rotary.”
The Cherry Festival Association recognized emcee Bruce Murrill, who has volunteered with the Cherry Festival for 20 years. Ten of those years have been as emcee of the parade as it passes the chamber of commerce building on Beaumont Avenue.
On those Saturdays filled with pancake breakfasts, parades and the festival, Murrill will work 19 hour days.
Association president Buzz Dopf surprised Murrill during Cherries Jubilee with a plaque thanking him for his service.
“Bruce never wants to be recognized,” Dopf said.
Scholarships also were given to Beaumont High School students who performed hours of community service and were eligible to receive scholarships from the Cherry Festival Association and the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club.
Murrill said that approximately $4,200 was raised during the event.
Here are the scholarship winners:
Cherry Festival Association
Beaumont-Cherry Festival Rotary Club