SDRA Dinner and Wine Tasting at Bella’s is a Huge Success

On Saturday, April 8, 160 friends of Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) gathered at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, Rhode Island to share a meal, sample a selection of fine wines, and dance the night away. What a fun night it was! And it was the most profitable fundraiser that we at SDRA have ever held. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this fabulous event.

The well-lit room was filled with round tables at which 10 or 11 guests were seated. As the board planned the event over the past few months, we never hoped we would get such a turnout! Sarah, the banquet coordinator at Bella’s, was so helpful as our guest list expanded. We appreciate everything she and the large Bella’s staff did that evening to make us feel so welcomed.

SDRA President Judy Colaluca welcomed the large crowd and expressed her gratitude to all present for their contributions toward our suction harvester.

The six course Wine Dinner menu as selected by Bella chefs began with bruschetta and was followed by a garden salad. Next was a delicious penne with a pink vodka sauce. Then two entree dishes came: first, chicken Marsala; second, filet of sole piccata. The dessert was a decadent finish of tiramisu.

While the dinner was fabulous, the wine selection was even better! Wines were paired and selected by Kevin Kitson of Christy’s Liquors. We began with a La Lucca sparkling rose (appetizer course) and moved to Hangtime chardonnay (salad course). Next came a Meiomi pinot noir (pasta course), followed by a Federalist bourbon barrel aged zinfandel (poultry course). A Santa Margherita pinto grigio (fish course) and Rumchata (dessert course) concluded the wine presentations.

Christy’s Liquors has kindly extended the offer of cases of wines that we enjoyed at the SDRA fundraiser into next week. Wines can be ordered at 401.568.1111; be sure to mention the Sand Dam Reservoir Association fundraiser. Prices per bottle range from $8.99 to $20.99; case prices are available.

We can’t thank Kevin enough for his helpful hints as we planned the fundraiser as well as his extensive generosity in donating his time and spirits so that SDRA could have a successful event. Thanks, Kevin. Your new building being erected in Chepachet will be a welcome addition to the town center.

The Silent Auction has become a staple element in our SDRA fundraising, thanks to the artistic design of SDRA board member, Marissa Danville. Some of the donations for the Silent Auction included two handcrafted coat racks, a clean living basket, a movie night basket, a Twirl Blowout gift certificate, a Mindful Bodyworks Massage gift certificate, a maple syrup basket, a bird lovers tote, a Happy Easter basket, a boat fire extinguisher, Frederickson Farm gift certificates, a bird house, a Victorian Mother’s Day basket, a Taste of Northern RI basket, a Milwaukee drill, a terrarium, a Paul Mitchell basket, an under cabinet lighting kit, a memory basket, a Mapleville Farm assortment, bunnies, a NH maple delight basket… and more!

Music was provided by  Black Tie Affair, whose band composition included some Searle family members. Guests crowded the dance floor once the dinner service was complete and danced until late in the evening. We extend many thanks to the Searle family, who donated the musical entertainment on behalf of SDRA.

A 50/50 raffle got lots of interest and was expertly run by Aaron Colaluca. Aaron’s customer service background certainly was shining at the event!

Special thanks to Eric Lariviere for all his hard work organizing this outstanding event and to the Colaluca, Sirois, Searle, and Danville families for encouraging so many of their family members to join in the fun.

May Wine Tasting Event to Benefit SDRA: Another Fundraising Success

On May 20, 2016, Sand Dam Reservoir Association held its second wine tasting fundraiser, this time at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery in Chepachet. More than 60 people attended the event to support the Association, sample the excellent wines on offer, and enjoy the camaraderie.

There was much more than just wine tasting on this evening!  Four huge tables of appetizers dotted the room. The fare included a hot buffalo cream cheese appetizer, a selection of homemade calzones, fresh mozzarella and tomato skewers, a selection of cheeses, refrigerator lemon squares, brownies, and a nachos/ dip/chips station, among many, many other items.  The entire food selection was donated by very generous SDRA members and guests.

The 50/50 raffle drew a lot of interest, as did a new activity, a Silent Auction. Organized by SDRA Board Member Marissa Danville, the items up for bid included, among others, a collection of beach toys, books for summer reading, accessories for the fisherman in the family, a boat fire extinguisher, a crocheted blanket, a terrarium, and two baskets of wine. Local merchants such as Inland Marine, Kitson’s Liquors, Fredrickson Farms, Smithfield Plumbing, and the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery contributed items to the Silent Auction. Items that drew particular interest were a coat rack, recycled and handcrafted by SDRA Board Member, Eric Lariviere, and a garden implement basket, assembled by SDRA Board Member, Art Searle.

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The Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery is reminiscent of coffee houses of days gone by, with its multiple level seating, sofas, tall tables, and cedar post-and-beam decor. Local musician John Rodgers added to the wonderful atmosphere as he played the guitar and piano and entertained the audience with his melodic voice. We thank the Purple Cat’s owner, Dan, for sponsoring John at the SDRA event.


The wine tasting evening allowed friends of Sand Dam Reservoir Association to relax and socialize for a few hours. Conversations in the tasting room wine bar and in the quiet nooks made the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery a delightful gathering place for the Association’s members and guests and a great way to welcome the high season in New England.

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Thank you to all who participated and contributed to a very successful evening. A special shout-out goes to Ashley Hawkes, who has offered significant public relations help to us for both our wine tasting fundraisers this year.  The Colaluca extended family contributed from the beginning to the end of the event with advanced planning, ticket sales, room set up, yummy food, and cleaning tasks. And we designate SDRA member Brian Sirois for the “Most Tickets Sold Award”—- thanks, Brian, for spreading the word and being such an integral part of our Association!

It is the caring and dedication by all our members and our network of concerned citizens that helps us implement our comprehensive Lake Management Plan for Smith and Sayles Reservoir. We continue to address nuisance weed growth at the lake, and fundraisers like this help our Lake Management Committee to guide the SDRA Board in efforts to improve water quality. Our major goal, to provide sensible and long-term solutions for improving water conditions at the lake, benefits everyone who enjoys the recreational opportunities available on Smith & Sayles while also protecting and improving fish and wildlife habitats.  We came one step closer to our goal on this May evening, thanks to our active membership.

Sand Dam Day 2015 A Smashing Success!


On July 25, 2015, almost 30 SDRA members and their guests spent the afternoon together at the Blueberry Pointe home of Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna. We had the gift of Goldilocks weather – not too hot, not too cold, just right – while we enjoyed good conversation and scrumptious food on the deck.

This year was marked by the return of the traditional Sand Dam Reservoir boat parade, led by Rico and Judy Colaluca. They were joined by son Aaron and daughter in law Gina, who piloted a floating picnic table designed and built by Aaron and powered by an antique 2 horsepower outboard motor.

DSC00638Shortly thereafter, Steve and Cathy Hopkins arrived with their son Scott aboard their pontoon boat called Evelyn’s Dream, named after Steve’s mother and long time lake association member, Evelyn Hopkins. No sooner had they arrived, then Dennis and Marissa Danville pulled up to the beach with their infant son Tre. Next, Ernie and Sharon Heon brought their own pontoon boat with neighbor John Guertin serving as first mate.

The food was just getting set up in the kitchen when Terry Tulles , Connie Worthington, and daughter-in-law, Barb arrived in their canoe, which Terry had admittedly hosed off to remove the spider webs for the occasion. They were joined by grandson, Will, who was home from college in Iowa, alongside in a bright yellow kayak and NRI SOS members Elaine Fontaine and her husband Allen.

Ron & Janice Baker brought a crock pot filled with delicious homemade seafood chowder, then Lucy Collins stopped by and brought long time lake resident Pat LeClair with her. It was great to see both of them again.

Scavanger HuntCarolyn’s Scavenger Hunt kept everyone mingling and chatting as we all tried to figure out who caught the biggest fish ever on Sand  Dam Reservoir, who had lived on the lake 72 years, who once drove in the Alps, or played hockey in high school.

Everyone enjoyed homemade turkey chili and cornbread, taquitos, fresh baked pumpkin bread, deviled eggs, buffalo dip, pita appetizers, watermelon, and several homemade desserts. The atmosphere was warm and friendly all afternoon as we caught up with our neighbors on the lake after a long, harsh winter.

In the end, the runabouts, pontoon boats, floating picnic tables, canoes, and kayaks all departed for home. It was a great day with friends, one that allowed us to share the joy of living on our beautiful lake.

We hope events like this will continue to strengthen the bond of friendship between all lake residents, and we encourage others to join our organization in the future.