By Libby Rosequist
With the scent of grapes in the air, it’s a telltale sign that WineFest is around the corner — purple footprints appear throughout town, tents go up, streets are blocked off in anticipation of crowds ready to taste the best the local wineries have to offer.
“Even though we can’t celebrate the season in our usual fashion this year, we at the North East Area Chamber of Commerce want to encourage you to support local and shop at the businesses and wineries that you would usually purchase from during the festival,” Katie Houpt, communications manager at the Chamber, said. “Purchase your stock of wines for the coming holiday season, shop at the local shops who usually rely on the foot traffic from the festival to make it through our unforgiving winters.”
This year will soon be over, and despite all the changes that have come from this difficult year, the Chamber is staying positive and planning for the return of the festival in 2021.
Save the date and mark the calendar for Sept. 24-26, 2021, and the local celebration of the harvest and fruits of North East’s tried-and-true tradition of WineFest.
Call ahead or check online to see what restrictions may be in place at the local businesses and wineries.
“Please be respectful of the rules in place at each establishment,” Houpt said. “This is a trying time for us all, but with your support, the small businesses that enrich our community will continue to celebrate with us in 2021.”
For those who are collectors of commemorative WineFest wine glasses, 2020 WineFest glasses are still available to complete any collection.
Stop by the Chamber office during business hours (check out the Facebook page for the most updated hours) or shipping is available for an additional fee. Glasses are $6 each.
Additionally, the Gibson Park Open Market is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sept. 26. The market features produce and baked goods, grilled lunch and treats, oils and vinegars, fresh bread, fresh flowers, ice cream, sugar waffles, earth art, desserts and more.
Live music will be located near the fountain from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Masks are not required to walk around the park, eat or listen to the live music but will be required when approaching/shopping with each vendor.
“Please do your part so that we can continue to support local farmers, businesses and restaurants throughout the rest of the produce season,” Houpt adds.