WILMINGTON -- The 2013 Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival has been growing over the years and this year is no exception.
"It's a festival celebrating Vermont's wineries and the harvest season, highlighting local foods, crafters, cheese producers, wineries and now, featuring in the last two years, Vermont distilleries," said Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold. "We're pleased to have many different wineries and distilleries joining us."
On Sept. 20, the festival will begin with several events based in the village of Wilmington. There will be wine and cheese sampling, the Vermont Soup Contest and live music throughout the downtown. Tickets for the Wine Stroll through the village are $8.
This will be the sixth Wine and Harvest Festival in the Deerfield Valley. It was an annual event but it had been canceled in the year of Tropical Storm Irene. Then it was resumed last year and had a record-breaking attendance of over 800 people in the village.
Grinold told the Reformer that organizers are anticipating an even larger turnout for this year's festivities. Over 70 vendors will be in attendance throughout the festival.
"Last year, it was its first year back, which was a big test," he said. "All that momentum in a young event could have been lost, but the village, sponsors, Vermont Wine and Grape Counsel and the wineries all supported it."
When the festival first started, there were only 12 to 13 wineries involved. Now, there are 30 within the Vermont Wine and Grape Counsel, which are featured throughout the festival.
"What's so nice about this event is it brings Vermont wines to a new audience and they can learn that wine made in Vermont may be more than what they expect," Grinold said.
Seven different musicians will be scattered throughout the village during the Friday welcoming events, where 15 different wines will be offered. Grafton Cheese and Honora Winery will also be holding tasting parties at Memorial Hall for anyone who purchases tickets for the Wine Stroll.
There will be educational seminars during the festival from representatives of two different wineries, where attendees can learn about wines and the regions that the wines come from.
On Sept. 21, there will be a cooking contest hosted by Twin Valley Schools Food Service Director Lonny Paige, who coordinates local Jr. Iron Chief events. This contest is new to the festival and will be open to children and adults of all ages. Categories include family, all adult or all children teams. Participants must be 11 years or older.
Live bands will perform from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, bands will play until 4 p.m.
On Sept. 21 and 22, Mount Snow will be holding festival events. Admission is $15 per person or $26 for a two-day pass. The tickets include an official festival wine glass and a specified number of samples.
The Country Day Care is offering child care services for adults who may want to enjoy the festival without having to watch their kids.
Children under 20 years old can enter free of charge. Passes for the events can be purchased during the day of the event.
A dual pass can also be purchased in advance or at the doors for residents from around the region who want to attend the Wine and Harvest Festival as well as the Independent Television and Film Festival being held the following weekend. That pass costs $60, which is less than an ITVFest ticket by itself, Grinold said.
The chamber is still accepting volunteers for the Wine and Harvest Festival. If you volunteer one day, you get a ticket for another day of the festival, then 25 percent off an ITVFest ticket. For those interested, contact the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce at 802-464-8092.
For more information on the Wine and Harvest Festival, visit TheVermontFestival.com.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.