Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cherry Jubilee: A sweet event for all ages

The Cherry Jubilee & Gift Exchange has something for everyone. And the cherries at this jubilee come sweetened with celebrities, sports memorabilia, an auction, homemade desserts and pastries, and even more!

In other words, it's just about time for Beaumont's annual Cherry Festival!

From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th, Beaumont prepares for the city's signature event by celebrating at the Cherry Jubilee. The festivities will raise thousands of dollars for college scholarships for seniors at Beaumont High School.

Crowds are expected to gobble up "all you can eat" cherry delights at the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center, located at 1310 Oak valley Parkway. Between bites of cherry cake, brownies, ice cream and cheesecake, they'll catch fast-talking TV auctioneer and Yucaipa resident Dan Dotson of "Storage Wars" taking bids on everything from an autographed Willie Mays bat to a signed photograph of Yogi Berra. Dotson and his wife Laura, who host "Storage Wars," are grand marshals for the 2011 Cherry Festival. You'll find plenty more baseball memorabilia to bid on, and boxing fans will have a chance to go home with a signed photo of Jake La Motta, who slugged it out with "Sugar" Ray Robinson in a match that helped inspire the movie "Raging Bull" starring Robert De Niro.

"This is an opportunity for everyone in the Pass to come out and support young people and have lots of fun in a family-friendly atmosphere," said Bruce Murrill, a volunteer for the Cherry Festival Association.

Scholarship fund

To raise money for scholarships, local merchants are selling $1 raffle tickets at their stores for baskets full of merchandise. In all, more than 50 baskets will be given away during a drawing. The city of Beaumont is also taking part, donating three baskets provided by City Hall employees, the Community Services Department, and the Police Department.

Other prizes will include tickets for a Dodgers/Padres game in San Diego, a boat rental at Big Bear Lake, and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians will be donating gift baskets from Hadley's, dinners to the buffet, a stay at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, and a spa gift certificate.

Last year, the Cherry Jubilee raised $6,000 for scholarships.

Proud history

Nine years ago, the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club came up with the idea for the Cherry Jubilee. The event is sponsored by Rotary in conjunction with the Cherry Festival Association and the City of Beaumont.

The Cherry Jubilee is the first of many fun activities during the 93rd annual Cherry Festival celebration, which runs from June 2nd to 5th. The jubilee promises to be a memorable night. For starters, enjoy homemade cherries jubilee - sweet, ripe cherries, a little sugar, cherry liquor - all whipped together, flambeed and spooned over vanilla ice cream. What a great way to celebrate the start of Beaumont's legendary Cherry Festival and raise money for local scholarships!