Dine & Discover West Africa FAQs

What should I expect at Dine & Discover West Africa?

Dine & Discover West Africa is an annual fundraiser hosted by West African Vocational Schools, a non-profit based in Fresno. Learn more about WAVS here. The fundraiser is held at Engelmann Cellars Winery, an open-air, grass-lawn venue located about 10 minutes west of Highway 99. Click here for directions.

Guests are welcome to arrive at 6 p.m. to join the mixing hour. From 6 to 7 p.m., guests will get to shop for art and jewelry from Guinea-Bissau, enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and Engelmann Cellars wine, and stop by the WAVS info tables to learn more about the students and teachers at the WAVS School in Guinea-Bissau. Ampersand Ice Cream will also be on site to serve ice cream. Also during the mixing hour, guests will have the opportunity to bid on silent auction items. The silent auction closes shortly after 7 p.m.

Around 7 p.m., guests will be invited to the dinner buffet line where we will serve a West African meal featuring grilled chicken, tilapia, and chef Alfredo da Silva’s famous spicy soup. Once guests are seated, we will begin the entertainment portion of the evening, which will include performances from local violinist Patrick Contreras and African dance performers Purposed II Praise. A multimedia presentation will follow that highlights the impact WAVS supporters have had in the lives of young women and men in Guinea-Bissau. At about 8:30 p.m., a high-energy live auction will begin. The event concludes at around 9 p.m.

Click here for more information about the event.

 

How much are the tickets and how do I get them?

Tickets are $55 for one person or $100 for two people. A table for 10 is $500. You can purchase tickets online or call us at (559) 825-1771. If you would like to purchase tickets by mail, please contact us.

Once you purchase tickets, you will receive an email within 24 hours confirming your purchase. This email will serve as proof of your purchase. We will record your name on our guest list. You do not need a physical ticket to attend. If you purchase multiple tickets, please contact us to let us know the names of all your guests at least 5 days before the fundraiser to ensure that their names are on the guest list.

 

What’s included in my ticket?

Your ticket will include complimentary Engelmann Cellars wine, one scoop from Ampersand Ice Cream, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and the West African buffet.

Will tickets be available at the door? 

We cannot guarantee that tickets will be available at the door and strongly encourage guests to purchase tickets in advance. On the day of the fundraiser, you are welcome to call us at (559) 825-1771 to check to see if tickets are still available.

What kind of food is served?

The menu varies a little bit each year, but it usually includes seasoned and grilled chicken, fried tilapia, salad, and a very popular spicy soup. The head chef is Alfredo da Silva, who was born in Guinea-Bissau and has lived in Fresno for more than two decades. Alfredo and a large team of volunteers prepare the meal. If you have any questions about the menu or about food allergies, please contact us.

 

Are children allowed to attend?

Children 12 and older are welcome to attend with the purchase of a ticket. For children under 12, we invite them to instead attend our annual spring fundraiser, a family-friendly event called Sip & Savor Spring.

 

Can my business, club or church sponsor the event?

Yes. More information about business sponsorship opportunities can be found here. Please contact us with any questions.

 

How does the Matching Fund work and can I contribute to it?

Each year, a handful of generous individuals, businesses, clubs and churches join together to create the Matching Fund. This fund is used for two purposes: 1) To cover all the costs of the fundraiser so that 100% of tickets, donations and auction sales go toward supporting WAVS; and 2) To match all sales and donations made by guests up to a certain amount. Typically, a Matching Fund donor is someone who purchases a Papaya Sponsorship. Please contact us if you would like to contribute to the Matching Fund.

 

How do I volunteer at the fundraiser?

We rely heavily on volunteers to make this fundraiser successful. Along with generous donations by vendors, volunteers help keep the cost of the event to a minimum. You can sign up to be a volunteer by contacting us.

 

How should I dress for the night?

Attire is semi-casual. Guests are encourage to bring a light sweater or jacket since it may get a little chilly toward the end of the evening. We will have space heaters available if the weather is cool. Tables and chairs will be set on a grassy lawn, so guests are encouraged to bring comfortable footwear.

 

What is the purpose of the fundraiser and how are the funds used?

Thanks to our many volunteers and generous donations from local vendors, the expenses of the event are kept to a minimum – and those expenses are covered by our generous Matching Fund donors. This means that 100% of all ticket sales, donations, and auction sales go toward supporting WAVS.

The money raised is used to fully fund U.S. and Guinea-Bissau operations in the following year, including the cost of running the WAVS School in Guinea-Bissau. Because of these generous donations, we are able to continue to equip more than 200 young women and men in Guinea-Bissau with life-changing job skills each year. The funds raised from Dine & Discover West Africa usually account for about half of our annual budget.

 

What if I still have questions?

We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us.