SANTA CRUZ - The songs of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and other classic bands filled the breeze Tuesday evening at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor as the annual Taste of the Harbor event celebrated its fifth year.
As many as 500 people were expected to attend this year's event, which featured food and wine from a number of area businesses and for the first time counted the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors Development League Team, among its sponsors.
The well-attended event raises money each for the O'Neill Sea Odyssey through the Intero Foundation, launched by the event's founder, Debra Frey.
Frey of Intero Real Estate launched the event in 2008 as a way to celebrate the opening of her Santa Cruz Harbor office and to invigorate the harbor businesses that had been hit hard by cancellation of the salmon season that year.
Around 275 people attended the first event and Frey realized it would be an excellent way to fund raise, with the money going to her neighbors at the O'Neill Sea Odyssey. The nonprofit offers free, educational sea voyages for students in grades 4-6.
The Santa Cruz Harbor is "a little-known gem in Santa Cruz," Frey said Tuesday as she mingled among the crowd, dressed in a colorful butterfly print dress.
She's expecting this year's event to raise $20,000.
"It's fun to watch the excitement on their faces, and to give them this opportunity to get out on the ocean" she said of the children involved
Attendees sampled foods from restaurants such as Aldo's, the Crow's Nest, El Palomar, Kind Grind and the new Louie's Cajun Kitchen and Bourbon Bar, among many others. An auction and raffle also were part of the festivities.
Steve Stefanik and his girlfriend came down from Los Gatos to support Intero and enjoy some good food at the same time. The ceviche from El Palomar was one of his favorite dishes, he said, and the snapper sliders at another stand also got raves.
County Supervisors Neal Coonerty and John Leopold also mingled through the crowd, rubbing elbows with former San Francisco 49er and current Santa Cruz resident Dwight "The Catch" Clark as local party band the Original Substitutes kept the tunes cranking.
An NFL football autographed by Clark was among the many items up for auction, along with a Santa Cruz Warriors VIP package featuring four courtside shirts, a brand-new Covewater Stand Up Paddleboard and many other appealing prizes.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter: @jmpasko96