The second annual Splatter food, wine and art festival will take place this Saturday at Emerald Glen Park in Dublin. It runs from noon until 8 p.m. with fireworks to follow.

"Passports," which are each good for one souvenir event wine glass and 20 tastes of food or wine in any combination, are $25 for advance purchase and $30 at the event, and $20 for a "half-port" that gets you 10 tastes.

You must be 21 years of age or older, of course, to sample any wines.

I can't list all of the food and wine vendors (you can see them all online at www.dublinsplatter.com) include Johnny Garlic's, Tomatina, Khyber Pass, Concannon, Mitchell Katz, Wente and Kissos.

There is music and a variety of different entertainment options and art displays throughout the day, along with carnival games for the kids and vendors selling their related wares.

HOPE HOSPICE: Thinking about death is likely not the first subject you wanted to read about while enjoying your morning cup of coffee today, but while you may choose to ignore it -- at least for a while -- thankfully there is an organization in Dublin whose primary mission is that very subject.

Hope Hospice has been operating for more than 30 years, bringing dignity and understanding to the final stage of life. And while there are various hospices operating in the Tri-Valley, it's hard not to be impressed with the approach of this nonprofit entity, which takes on patients regardless of their ability to pay, and has a variety of interesting services.

In addition to doctors and nurses, care is often provided by a team of professionals, including, among others, a home health aide, social worker, spiritual counselor and volunteers, who are vital to the process.

"Our volunteers feel a sense of purpose," says Jill Biggs, a registered nurse and director of volunteer services. "Many (volunteers) feel they receive personal betterment back from the individual they're supporting."

More than 150 people volunteer for Hope Hospice, ranging from those who get to know and spend time with patients, to artists who help patients who are also artists do bedside projects, to musicians and vocalists of the Voices of Hope Choir who provide in-home performances for patients.

"Some volunteer because they've lost a loved one and want to give back, and some just feel the need to give back," added Biggs.

While volunteers are important to the hospice process, so is financial support. Some patients have at least some insurance coverage, but there is often a coverage gap. Add that to those who may not have the means to pay, but still receive service, and it's pretty easy to see why Hope Hospice needs to raise more than $500,000 a year to help break even.

Since its inception in an area church in 1980, Hope Hospice has provided care to more than 6,000 patients. While its home is Dublin, the hospice service area includes Alamo, Blackhawk, Castro Valley, Diablo, Dublin, Danville, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Sunol, along with surrounding communities in the East Bay.

And while care is obviously focused on the patient as they go through the final stages of life, the hospice care also extends to the family being left behind. Bereavement specialists are made available to the surviving family to help them move on but, of course, never forget their loved one.

If you're interested in learning more about Hope Hospice, want to provide a financial gift or offer your volunteer services, you can email the organization at info@hopehospice.com. You can also log onto the website at www.hopehospice.com

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.