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UNICO to host wine, beer and food tasting event

LONGMEADOW Western Massachusetts-crafted spirits will be featured when the Longmeadow Chapter of UNICO National Inc. hosts its eighth annual Wine, Beer and Food Tasting on Oct. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Center Court at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. This year's Wine, Beer and Food Tasting will include more than a dozen varieties of wine, provided by M.S. Walker Distributors, plus offerings from more than 20 Greater Springfield restaurants. More local flavor comes from two Western Massachusetts-based businesses. Berkshire Brewing Co. is back for the fifth year, offering samples of the beer it brews in South Deerfield. New to the event this year are vodka and gin samples from Berkshire Mountain Distillers, which produces hand-crafted spirits at Soda Springs Farm in Sheffield. Water and soft drinks also are available, and there will be a station with Italian cookies and coffee. Pianist Al Nardi will provide entertainment. Also included in the $30 donation for tickets is admission to the Hall of Fame's exhibits. Ample free parking is available. Members of the Longmeadow High School Key Club will assist Longmeadow UNICO club members with setup and service. The Longmeadow UNICO Wine, Beer and Food Tasting is the Italian-American service club's major fundraiser for the year. Since it was chartered in October 2000, the club has raised funds to benefit programs for education, mental health and Italian culture in Longmeadow and surrounding communities. "We try to do something a little different every year, and in addition to the vast variety of international wines provided annually by M.S. Walker, we are pleased to showcase the fine products made right here in Western Mass. by BBC beer and Berkshire Distillers," said Michael J. Filomeno, president of Longmeadow UNICO. "And once again, we'll have a tremendous lineup of dishes from several excellent local restaurants. "We understand that these are trying times for many restaurants, and our membership sincerely appreciates the donations restaurateurs have made over the years and especially this year. Because of them and the hundreds of people who buy tickets to support the event, we are able to maintain our charitable giving to local mental health, education and other programs," Filomeno said. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Joe Liquori at 788-8749 or Ray Rocca at 737-2475. UNICO National is the largest Italian-American service organization in the United States. The club's name, translated from the Italian, means "one" or "only" or "only one of its kind." Additionally, the letters are interpreted as U for Unity, N for Neighborliness, I for Integrity, C for Charity and O for Opportunity. The club's motto is "Service Above Self."

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