OAKLAND -- Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation will host their 11th annual fundraiser Thursday at the Rotunda Building in downtown Oakland.

The event, the Taste of Spring, will raise money for youth scholarships for parks and recreation activities, including summer camp, sports, art and dance in addition to the new capital improvement projects throughout the city.

The event has grown in popularity over the past couple of years, doubling their proceeds each year since 2011, providing more scholarships each year. Last year's event raised $20,000, providing 307 youth scholarships with money for capital improvement projects, said Liz Westbrook, an event organizer. This year's fundraising goal is $30,000, and the group hopes to provide 400 scholarships.

Guests will dine on gourmet snacks and wine while enjoying an acrobatic performance in the building's expansive atrium and bid on silent and live auctions, featuring a variety of items, including a secret tour of City Hall, a tour of the Port of Oakland, a suite at an Oakland A's game and a tour of the new executive director veterinary facilities at the Oakland Zoo.

This year's capital improvement project included rehabilitating the Dimond District's Curt Flood field. Proceeds from the event will help fund the multimillion-dollar project, said Daniel Swafford, chair of the group's marketing committee and executive director of the Montclair Village Association. The field will be outfitted with new lighting, bleachers and artificial turf, and the hours of field use will be extended for local athletes. The group has made smaller grants in the past toward improvements in Joaquin Miller Park, Dimond Park and Montclair Park, including the replacement of the bricks in Montclair Park's amphitheater.

The event will include the presentation of the Anne Woodell Community Award, named after the organization's founder, and the Business People Award. The Woodell award will be bestowed on the late Lewis P. May, a founding member of the board and former Montclair resident who established a gift of stocks in 2013.

May's gift has provided a revenue stream for community microgrants, including the purchase of new bricks for Montclair Park's amphitheater and Lake Merritt's bee hotel.

May's son, Pete May, will accept the award on behalf of the May family.

The Business People Award will be presented to the PG&E Government Relations team in honor of its support of park projects, including the refurbishment of outdoor basketball courts at Arroyo Viejo Park.

"We really are trying to broaden our reach so that more people can get involved in Oakland parks and improving and maintaining them," Westbrook said.

"This is an exciting time to promote people's interest in the park."

"We look forward to returning to the Rotunda Building for the Taste of Spring event," said Ken Lupoff, executive director. "We had a great year in 2013, and we are looking forward to using this year's event as a springboard to raise funds to help us to close in on our goal of making sure that no child in our city is denied the opportunity to attend day camp this coming summer."

IF YOU GO
What: Taste of Spring benefit by the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation
When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Rotunda Building, 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
Cost: $75; can purchase tickets at www.oaklandparks.org