Category Archives: Events

A Toast to the Town


Cultural Arts Rotary Club of Fresno presents “A Toast to the Town” (formerly Storyland and Jazz) at Rotary Playland at Roeding Park on Saturday, September 10 at 6 pm. This annual fundraiser will feature great music by The After Dinner Mints with a special appearance by Clarkia Cobb and Fresno’s Finest Restaurant Tastings. Wine, beer and soft drinks will be available for purchase. The proceeds from the event will benefit youth arts programs.


Describing the Mints’ music is a challenge. Their repertoire includes jazzy favorites from the Swing Era, novelty songs from the 1940s, the pre-rock jump blues of Louis Prima, fiery Latin dance tunes, soulful Ray Charles covers, odd songs about food, and a few “modern” numbers (from the 1960s!) Add in some odd costume choices and slightly inappropriate props, and voila: After Dinner Mints!

Don’t let the “food” nicknames throw you. Jazz fans will recognize Mark Ribera (Pea), Les Nunes (Ham), Dale Engstrom (Gløgg), Craig VonBerg (Kraut), Brian Hamada (Rice), John Lauffenburger (Butter), and Mike Dana (Soup) as some of the busiest jazz performers on the scene.



Check back for news about our 2017 Fundraiser!

Storyland and Jazz 2015: We’re at the River!

One of Fresno's most popular jazz groups from the 80s, NO PRISONERS, will headline Storyland & Jazz
One of Fresno’s most popular jazz groups from the 80’s, NO PRISONERS, will headline Storyland & Jazz
Cultural Arts Rotary Club presents an “At the River” version of

With Storyland temporarily closed, the annual Storyland & Jazz concert and fundraiser this year is “At the River” – the San Joaquin River Parkway to be exact. Storyland will be in evidence, though, thanks to characters provided as paper mache centerpieces through Fresno County EOC Sanctuary youth and other volunteer efforts.

The evening includes food tasting from local restaurants, a no-host bar, and silent auction to benefit Storyland, underserved youth and arts programs funded by Cultural Arts Rotary Club.

This year’s headliner is No Prisoners, a local band not heard for some time. One of Fresno’s most popular jazz groups of the 1980s gets back together to perform for Storyland and Jazz at the River. No Prisoners was a frequent performer on the Fresno jazz scene in the 80s and 90s and many of the band’s members remain vibrant forces on the jazz scene today. The group includes Mike Dana, guitar; Craig VonBerg, piano; Brian Hamada, drums; Roy Carlson, bass; Bob Bergthold, vocals.

Also on tap is the youth group The Jazz Extension, a hit at last year’s event. These college students bring their love of music and embody the culmination of the youth programs the club supports.

Cultural Arts Rotary’s annual event raises funds to benefit Storyland, underserved youth, and arts organizations. Food tasting from local restaurants, a no-host bar, and a silent auction are provided in addition to the jazz bands. Tickets are $50, available at or from club members.

Storyland and Jazz 2014: All That and More!

The Storyland & Jazz event was a spectacular success with nearly 300 in attendance. The food was excellent and plentiful. The music was fun and enjoyable with “street drummer” Joe Lizama setting the tone at the entrance, the Jazz Extension playing pre-show music and the Bourbon Street Beat bringing the heat in a very entertaining show. Train rides, conversation, and an outstanding silent auction array completed the good times.

So many thanks to the Interact Youth and the Police Academy Cadets – they all did yeoman’s work setting up, tearing down, and everything you could think of in between. Lots of kudos must go out – starting with Chair Sandy Silva. That little tiny lady does HUGE WORK! Thank you a million times, Sandy. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and to everyone who brought friends and could be there. It was especially nice to see long long time members Ann and Gary Hanson, who used to run the silent auction. They particularly enjoyed being able to relax and enjoy!

For photos from the event, visit this link.

Storyland and Jazz 2014

Storyland and Jazz LogoThe Cultural Arts Rotary Club of Fresno presents its annual fundraiser at Storyland. The evening includes food tasting from local restaurants, no-host bar, silent auction, and live jazz performed under the stars.

The entertainment for this year’s event is The Bourbon Street Beat, led by saxophonist Tom Wilson, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music whose education also includes a stint in The Big Easy honing his craft. Tom is joined by a host of the Valley’s hottest and hippest young cats including Max Hembd on trumpet, Robert Ruffner on trombone, Kevin Hill on bass and tuba, and Tony Montanez on drums.

Also on tap is the youth group The Jazz Extension, a hit at last year’s event.  These college students bring their love of music and embody the culmination of the youth programs we support.

The event benefits Storyland and youth arts programs for under-served children. Tickets are available from any Cultural Art Rotary Club member or online at Brown Paper Tickets. Join us!

Storyland and Jazz a Success!

After several years’ hiatus putting on the event (thanks to North Fresno Rotary for taking the baton), Storyland & Jazz came home to CARC August 17, 2013. It was a rousing success.

Raising a net of more than $25,000, jazz musicians headlined by Karen Marguth, the After Dinner Mints, and Rumba 32 entertained the crowd during the evening. Guests were greeted by the college group The Jazz Extension, bid on silent auction items ranging from a Captain’s desk to art to jewelry, and enjoyed food from more than 15 local restaurants.

Club members spent hours and days preparing the park for the guests, helping clean up Storyland, adding flowers and landscaping elements, and painting the dragon and other characters enjoyed by all. We thank sponsors Dan Martin, Ann and Nat Dellavalle, and Granville Homes for their support. WATCH FOR AUGUST 2014 DATE COMING SOON!