The arrival of spring has excited the bees and gotten the grasses green again – true signs that the time is right to announce the date for Benicia’s second annual Honey & Cheese Pairing festival.

This year’s gourmet evening will be held on Saturday, May 14, 6-9pm, under the shared new roof of Shirocos and Piccolo, two downtown stores that recently moved to the city’s beautiful waterfront. The address for the event is 216 First Street, Benicia. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the stores or online at

DIVE IN: All proceeds will be used to help support Benicia’s James Lemos Community Pool. Donations for the tickets and all funds collected through a silent auction and other activities during the evening will go directly to keep the swim programs and the pool open.

“The times are very challenging,” noted Shirocos owner Erick Martinez, “and we know this is going to be important to get this great program some badly needed funds.” “We’re shooting to raise $10,000 this year,” said Key as she noted the impact the new store setting was likely to have. The first honey and cheese pairing event in 2009 raised several thousand for the Benicia Education Foundation and people loved that night. “Everyone loves the fact that we have this gorgeous new location and they are looking forward to this event being a sign of more community activities to come.”

By joining forces, Piccolo and Shirocos believe they are developing a new kind of anchor store for small towns. Both businesses are active proponents of local shopping and community involvement projects.

For more information on the Honey & Cheese Pairing Festival or the stores, please call 707-297-6452 ( PEPRC is the supporting nonprofit and contributors will be provided the charitable nonprofit identification number upon request.