Under Warm and Sunny Skies on the Edge of the Arroyo, AbilityFirst’s 43rd Annual Festival of Fall Gourmet Food & Drink Event

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5:00 pm | October 15, 2017


On Sunday, October 15 on the grounds of the majestic and historic Laurabelle A. Robinson estate, which overlooks the Arroyo Seco and the Colorado Street Bridge, AbilityFirst held its 43rd annual Festival of Fall Gourmet Food and Wine Event. As the sun set over the Arroyo and cast a very warm glow, guests enjoyed a variety of gourmet eats and drinks.

This year’s honorary chair and actress best known for her role as “Becky” on the hit TV show, Glee, Lauren Potter.

The event has become a destination for foodies and wine connoisseurs and benefits the AbilityFirst Lawrence L. Frank Center located in Pasadena and the AbilityFirst Business & Employment Services Center also in Pasadena. Since 1968 the Lawrence L Frank Center has provided individuals with developmental disabilities programs to help them reach their personal best, including after school and social recreation to help to build social connections, gain valuable life skills and promote independent living.

Now in its 43rd year, the Festival of Fall Gourmet Food and Drink event offered guests the chance to sample exquisite cuisine prepared by more than 30 prominent greater Pasadena restaurants, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Sushi Roku and Gale’s Restaurant, sip wine from Loring Winery and San Antonio Winery and enjoy craft beers and signature cocktails from local purveyor The Raymond Restaurant.

The evening also featured amazing live and silent auctions including a Tesla X for the weekend, a two-night stay with private wine tastings in Sonoma Wine Country, a week-long trip for six adults and two children to Diamond Resort in Nuevo Vallarta and a private helicopter ride along, sponsored by the Pasadena Police Department.

The 2017 AbilityFirst Gourmet Food and Wine Event was hosted by Phaedra and Mark Ledbetter, who generously donated the use of their spectacular home overlooking the Arroyo Seco. Rarely open to the public, the Laurabelle A. Robinson house was commissioned in 1905 by lawyer and financier Henry Robinson and his wife, Laurabelle and was designed by architects Greene and Greene. 

AbilityFirst pioneered some of the first community services in California for children with disabilities.  Highlights from our 90+ year history include:  setting a model standard in accessibility with the design and construction of one of the first fully accessible camps in the nation; opening one of the first vocational training programs in the country for adults with disabilities; being a forerunner in supported employment, helping adults with developmental disabilities succeed in competitive community jobs; and leading a statewide effort to sponsor and secure passage of Senate Bill 309 which ensures that young adults with developmental disabilities can attend after school programs throughout high school.  At AbilityFirst, we look beyond disabilities, focus on capabilities and expand possibilities. For more information, visit AbilityFirst.org