NAPLES, Fla. - The Gulf Coast High School Shark Band warmed up the crowd at the Naples Winter Wine Festival Saturday afternoon. The largest charity wine event in the country has raised millions for at-risk and under privileged Collier County youth in the last decade.
But before millions of dollars would ever be spent, those attending were able to see first hand where their money is going. 17-year-old Ivan Cruz spoke about his tough challenges. The Immokalee teenager is raising his two young nephews, but that hasn't stopped him from achieving his dreams. He plans to attend college.
"I'm glad to be a part of this program," said Cruz.
The money raised at the event goes to the Naples Children and Education Foundation.
Now that everyone is truly inspired, it's time to bid. The first lot up for auction is a collection of some of the world's best wines, which goes for $100,000.
The money keeps rolling in throughout the afternoon, there are 65 lots in all.
"We go after the best of the best, we go after things you can't buy," said Bob Edwards, one of the events Co-Chairs.
One thing you can only buy at the Naples Winter Wine Festival is the new Ferrari F12berlinetta, which won't be available to the general public for months. Another lot features an african safari and a hundred thousand dollars worth of Graff Jewelry.
But the real prize goes to the children that this event helps.
Event officials tells us more than $8.5 million dollars was raised Saturday. That brings the grand total raised since the first festival in 2001 to $116 million dollars. The Ferrari went for a whopping $750,000.