New Year's Eve, Roman Style

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On Sunday night, Messina Hof Winery and Resort had an entrance way that lead to ancient Rome. That was the theme for the winery's annual New Year's Eve Party.

Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo are the owners of Messina Hof and every year, a theme is chosen for the celebration. This year, Merrill said the theme was an evening with Caesar.

Visitors were immediately welcomed into a re-creation of Caesar's dining hall. Imperial red and golden shields draped the room where guests enjoyed a special feast that coordinates with the night's theme.

Merrill Bonarrigo says themes not only add to the fun, they allow those at the celebration to experience something they did not expect.

"Do something different, step out of yourself and step into a little bit of a fantasy world," she said. "And experience something, learn something new."

Rome wasn't built in a day, and all of the employees at Messina Hof took weeks designing and constructing a section of the empire inside of the Vintage House. From the conception of the Roman theme and decor, employees researched the details of the era for all of the event's guests to enjoy.

Even Executive Chef Ken Ruud and his staff strived to re-create the taste of Rome. They were responsible for creating numerous entrees authentic to Caesar's time.

The New Year's Eve festivities celebrated both the past and the future.

"New Years' is a very, very special moment," Merrill Bonarrigo said. "It's that one moment in time where you can reflect back on all the blessings that you've had in the previous year and look in anticipation and hope for what's coming in the new year."

And one of the first things 2007 brings is the 30th anniversary of Messina Hof in the Brazos Valley.