By Libby Rosequist
After deliberation between the North East Chamber of Commerce and Fuller Hose Co., the beer garden has been canceled, while WineFest is still slated for the weekend of Sept. 24.
The intention of Fuller Hose hosting a beer garden was to offer additional visitor options during WineFest due to its reduced size.
WineFest will be at Gibson Park only this year, instead of including the Gravel Pit as its second location.
“Although the intent behind asking Fuller Hose to host a Beer Garden at Gravel Pit Park the same weekend as WineFest was to be purely supportive of, complimentary to (and not in competition with) WineFest, the reality is it does not help support the local wineries, which is what WineFest is all about,” North East Chamber of Commerce Board President Jenny Sholtis said.
Due to COVID-19, the Chamber board decided to scale back WineFest to increase the safety of all who plan to participate.
“We hoped that by keeping the festival in Gibson Park that it would allow attendees to not only experience the festival, but also explore all of the downtown businesses and attractions,” Sholtis explained. “We’re hoping it’s a win-win for everyone from the people attending, to the participants as well as the local businesses.”
Moving forward, the Chamber hopes to re-develop and grow the WineFest to what the community needs and this year’s fest is the starting point for change.
“Next year we hope that WineFest can continue on a path of betterment,” Sholtis said. “We’re constantly working to try to improve and enhance the festival and that will be no different for next year’s.
“Hopefully this year’s event is well received and we can gain some feedback on what the public would like to see moving forward.”
The wineries participating in WineFest include:
• 6 Mile Cellars
• Cellar 54
• Courtyard Winery
• IronStone Meadery
• Penn Shore Winery
• Presque Isle Wine Cellars
• Yori Wine Cellars
“We sincerely appreciate the members of Fuller Hose wanting to help out the Chamber and the community, especially at our request,” Sholtis said. “We are thankful to have their support moving forward and can’t wait to see the community at WineFest.”
North East Chamber of Commerce board members are Lori Ion, Vernon Frye, Beth Lewis, AJ Moore, Maria Pisano, Carl Gregg, Jenny Sholtis and Mike Yori.