Five themed baskets will be raffled off next Wednesday at the Soroptimist’s annual Free Spaghetti Dinner and Basket Festival. This year’s Mountain Folk basket includes a 1,000-watt Honda generator, donated by SoCal Renovations.
Photo courtesy Soroptimists

Soroptimist International of Idyllwild hosts its long-standing tradition of a free spaghetti dinner for the community, followed by a raffle for one of five prize baskets or a cash prize “Money Hat,” next Wednesday.

The local Soroptimist club is in its 45th year in Idyllwild, and this is it’s largest and most popular fundraiser.

Starting at 5 p.m., attendees are treated to a free spaghetti dinner (meat, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available), plus salad, ice cream and beverages.

Raffle tickets for the five prize baskets are available at the event and in advance at the Post Office or the Muirs Mountain Realty office on Highway 243. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Those wishing to participate in the basket drawing need not attend if they purchase their tickets in advance.

This year’s themed baskets are: Kids & Family, Wine & Dine, Mountain Folk, Kitchen and Mystery. There also will be a cash prize winner, where a “Money Hat” worth $250 will be raffled off. The Money Hat drawing in the past took place during the Tree Lighting Ceremony, but is being combined with the Basket Festival this year.

Each themed basket’s value starts at $1,000.

Some of the prizes in the Kids & Family Basket include a four-pack of tickets to Six Flags Magic Mountain, as well as Knott’s Berry Farm, The Living Desert, Aquarium of the Pacific and Mulligan Family Fun Center. There are local prizes as well, such as gift certificates to Earth ’N Fire, Remember When Toys and High Country Traditional Archery.

This year’s Mountain Folk Basket will likely be a coveted win with its Yeti backpack cooler from Idyllwild Heating and Cooling, a 1000-watt Honda generator donated by SoCal Renovations and a cord of local wood.

The Wine & Dine Basket includes gift certificates from many local restaurants and a night at the movies from the Rustic Theatre. It also features tickets for a Malibu Wine Safari at the Saddlerock Ranch, as well as gift certificates for wine tasting in Temecula. Items included are a Corvin wine dispenser, martini maker and more than 10 bottles of wine.

The Kitchen Basket is any foodie’s dream come true, with a set of Cuisinart stainless steel cookware, a Ninja blender, an Instant Pot, gift certificates to Fairway and Village markets, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Stater Bros., as well as Oxo airtight containers and an Ember mug.

The Mystery Basket is a mix of practical and fun, and will be a valuable surprise for its winner.

Funds raised help Soroptimist International of Idyllwild with a number of projects, including an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program called House of Hope, the Women’s Cabinet at the Idyllwild Help Center (providing essential items to local families that cannot be purchased with state benefits), Alternatives to Domestic Violence, scholarships for local women and girls, such as the Live Your Dream Award and the Mary Austin Scholarship and Grant, and fundraising and awareness building for the elimination of Human Trafficking. Starting this year, Soroptimist is helping to sponsor the newly formed local Girl Scout Troop 533.

This fundraiser tradition happens next Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Buckhorn Camp, starting at 5 p.m. The basket raffle happens at 6:30 p.m. A game of bingo will be provided while folk visit, with fun prizes for the winners.