More than 2,000 people came out to sip wines and enjoy fine food among the tennis courts at the Manhattan County Club Saturday, June 8, at the 25th Annual Manhattan Wine Auction, with a goal of raising more than $1 million for Manhattan Beach schools.

As the largest event of the year for Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, the auction sells out early with guests paying $300 for general admission and $500 for the reserve room. Groups can also sponsor tables at the live auction. Last year, the event raised more than $1.3 million, a mark that MBEF executive director Hilary Mahan expects to surpass this year.

“We’re just absolutely thrilled that our community continues every year to come together with such incredible support,” Mahan said.

Notable guests included Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance and his wife Betty Lieu, a member of the Torrance school board; State Senator Ben Allen; Skechers President Michael Greenberg; and members of the Manhattan Beach City Council.

Because Manhattan Beach Unified School District is one of the lowest funded school districts in the state, based on a variety of factors that make up the state’s funding formula, an increasing amount of support from the Foundation has come to be expected.

This year, MBEF will contribute $6.3 million to the district. Last year voters passed a parcel tax that is estimated to raise $2.6 million annually.

The Manhattan Country Club was completely transformed Saturday as guests mingled among four tennis courts with never-ending smorgasbords of wine samples and food bites.

The weather could not have been more perfect.

More than 60 wineries, breweries and distilleries, took part in the event along with dozens of restaurants offering delicious samplers.

The live auction took place in the center court, where guests sat at sponsored tables. Items bid included everything from bottles of champagne and cake at the table, to a private dinner by local Chef David LeFevre that sold for more than $15,000. Chevron Corporation kicked off the live auction by announcing a contribution of $300,000 to the school district and $100,000 to MBEF.

A silent auction before the event started raised $100,000.

“It’s amazing that the community for 25 years has come out and supported our schools at this level,” said school board member Jennifer Cochran.

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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