On Oct. 17, you may notice an extra 300 people walking downtown with stemless wine glasses and an array of gift bags for Stoughton’s inaugural Wine Walk.

The 300 tickets available sold out in one week, Rae Ladd scholarship committee leader Angie Halverson said.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Rae Ladd Scholarship, which goes to two students who are active volunteers. The Stoughton Chamber of Commerce gives the $500 award away each year in honor of long time member Rae Ladd.

In previous years, the committee had a dinner at Stoughton Country Club titled the Great Food Expectation. But Halverson said it was time to spice things up and put new energy behind the scholarship. The Wine Walk features 17 downtown businesses offering 1-ounce samples of red and white wine, in addition to discounts for participants.

Stephanie Kittleson, a May 2019 Rae Ladd scholarship recipient, spent her high school career face painting for elementary students, being a reading tutor and raking leaves for community members.

Although Kittleson doesn’t volunteer for the accolades, she said that tangible gift helped her pay for college tuition at Florida College.

“Volunteering is a cool thing that makes you feel good about yourself,” Kittleson said. “But you also can get a cool award for it.”

Wine Walk tickets were $30 each and if the event continues to grow in popularity, the chamber would like to increase the scholarship amount in the future, chamber member Callie Lapoint said.

She hopes the scholarship encourages “graduating seniors to make volunteering a priority in their lives, like Rae did.”

Ladd, who died in 2015, “ lived a life of volunteerism,” LaPoint wrote to the Hub in an email.

Ladd volunteered at the Stoughton Hospital Auxiliary, the Stoughton American Legion Auxiliary, The Order of the Eastern Star and won Stoughton’s volunteer of the year award in 2008.

Two years later, the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce started the Rae Ladd Scholarship in her honor.

For people who were hoping to attend the Wine Walk, they will likely have to wait until next year’s event, for which the date is already set, Oct. 15, 2020, or they can call 873.7912 to get on a waiting list.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.