Attendees of the Nature Uncorked fundraiser will have numerous opportunities to try some great wines and perhaps take some home as well.

Attendees of the Nature Uncorked fundraiser will have numerous opportunities to try some great wines and perhaps take some home as well.

Photo provided by Carla Reeb

Stage Nature Center to host 13th annual Nature Uncorked fundraiser

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published October 14, 2023


TROY — The Lloyd Stage Nature Center is popping the bubbly for its 13th annual Nature Uncorked fundraiser.

Nature Uncorked is an annual wine and beer tasting hosted at the Troy Community Center to raise money for the nature center and its various programs. It will be held 5-9 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Troy Community Center.

“There is a link to register and purchase tickets,” said Nature Center Executive Director Carla Reeb.  The early bird pricing expires Nov. 3 and is $45 per person or $60 for VIP tickets. After that they go up $10 per ticket. The VIP tickets allow for early entry into the event at 5 p.m. Between 5 and 6 p.m., there is a pre-glow reception. They get a free cocktail and premium appetizers from Fogo de Chao and Whiskey Taco Foxtrot. Between 6 and 9 p.m. the regular ticket holders get to try other drinks and food from local restaurants like Sedona Taphouse, Eddie Merlot’s, and Granite City.

“Everyone has a cause they can donate money to. There are so many causes that need donations. A flat donation doesn’t connect you to that organization, though. This event allows you to connect with the Nature Center and the Troy community,” added Nicole Betzler, the chair for this year’s event. “All of the profits help the Nature Center and the great programs it puts on. Plus, you get an evening to be away as grownups away from the kids with good food, good wines and good company.”

The proceeds from the event make many of the events organized by the Stage Nature Center possible.

“These funds make large events like our maple syrup program possible, which sees 1,000 people come through each year,” said Reeb. “We have over 200 public programs annually for individuals 2 years old and up, and the funds support them. Many of them teach about nature, science and the environment, as well as how to be good stewards of the environment. This can be our trick-or-treat among the trees program; Santa, who visits the Nature Center every December; and our Little Acorns program and Knee-High Naturalist programs for toddlers.”

There will be numerous activities at the event for those taking part to enjoy.

“During the evening, we have a silent auction. We have 54 card raffles, where they pick a card and we get half and they get half. They get half of the funds and we get half of the funds,” said Reeb. “Our favorites are the games that are special to us. There’s our very popular wine pull game where bottles are wrapped so you can’t see what they are, although they are at least $20 each. Some are worth much more. A person pays $20 and they get a random bottle of wine. There’s our spin the bottle challenge too. We have a large roulette wheel that was made for us. It has a wine bottle mounted on it, and you spin it and we have prizes depending on what it lands on. It could be wine, T-shirts, gift cards and so forth.”

If anyone wishes to help out, the organizers said there are still plenty of ways people can contribute.

“They’ve been doing it for so many years. I think they have a great handle on what works and what doesn’t. Walking out of last year’s event, we wanted to get more donors through the wine pull event, so promoting that is something we’re doing this year. We’re doing more prizes and more raffles,” Betzler said. “If people want to donate bottles of wine or prizes, they can drop them off at the Nature Center. We are also looking for volunteers for the event too. We get pretty good attendance, but we are always looking for more people, both as guests and behind the scenes. … This organization does so much good in the community — for everyone, but especially for our children in Troy.”

Reeb said that Nature Uncorked has become a yearly tradition and one of Troy’s premier social events for the wider community.

“We started it in 2011,” she said. “All proceeds from the event go to underwrite the programs and activities of the Nature Center. Supporters of the event, sponsors and advertisers get some great recognition and they get some complementary VIP tickets to the event. Nearly 300 prominent businesspeople and city officials attend each year. This year, Roop Raj from Fox 2 News will be our co-emcee, alongside Mayor Ethan Baker.”

Reeb hopes that this year’s event will be even more popular than the previous dozen.

“This event supports a very important preserve in our community,” she remarked. “We are the largest nature preserve in the area. We teach the public about good stewardship, and the funds make school field trips here possible every year.”