The cork pops this Saturday for a celebration of the Yadkin Valley wine industry.
For the past 11 years the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival has brought together locals and North Carolinians from the Charlotte, Concord, Mooresville, Raleigh and Durham.
“Wine is going to be the economic engine for this area. Any way you can promote that industry is good for this area,” said Yadkin Valley Wine Festival Chairman Sam Bishop. “Ten years ago at the first festival, there were eight wineries; this year there are 33.”
President of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Laurette Leagon said in one day, the wine festival brings in roughly $170,000 into the local economy.
“I’m most proud of the fact that we haven’t lost focus that wine comes first,” Leagon. “I’m very proud that this is considered the premiere wine festival in the state of North Carolina.”
The event was the brain child of Rebel Good and Joe Walker, who both realized what it could do for the community, Leagon said.
Every year, local Gary Maxey and his daughter Alexa dress up like a roving Bacchus, donned with purple robes and grape wreaths on their heads.
“The first year we did the wine festival we knew it would be huge,” Maxey said. “My friend Gambill Aldridge went around to several other wine festivals while helping plan ours. He was told that Elkin needed a roving Bacchus, and that he just had to be fat and have a beard.”
Saturday’s Wine Festival will mark the 11th time Maxey has donned his crown of grapes.
“We decided this needed to be family event, and so we grabbed my daughter and dressed her up as Alexa, Princess of wine,” he said. “She was eight years old the first year we did it, and we’ve been doing it every year. She enjoys doing it.”
Friday afternoon, the wine festival board and volunteers will start setting up in the park. The park will still be open to walkers on Friday, but there will be signs alerting them of the activity.
This year the headlining band will be The Fantastic Shakers and will play from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the Natty Boh Duo will open the event at 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase, and any one tasting, buying or drinking wine must be at least 21 years old. A photo ID will have to presented and a wine tasting wrist band can be purchased.
Shuttles from hotels will be available for $5, and there will $5 parking at the Elkin Municipal Park which will go to the Elkin Rescue Squad.
The Wine Festival is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the Elkin Municipal Park in Elkin, N.C. Tickets are $16 in advanced and $20 on the day of; retired or active military personnel can receive a discount with their military ID. Following the festival is Under the Stars on Main Street from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. showcasing local bands, food and a downtown beer garden.
“This is the 11th year of the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival, and most of the committee members have been a part of the festival since the very beginning,” Leagon said. “This event runs a well-oiled machine. Anyone who attends will have a wonderful time.”
Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.