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Wyalusing Wine Festival Returns on Saturday

 

By Rick Hiduk

Friday is the final day to take advantage of a discounted rate for tickets to the eighth annual Wyalusing Wine Festival, which will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, on the grounds of the Wyalusing Valley Museum behind the big barn, along Wyalusing-New Albany Road (SR 2010). Tickets will also be available on the day of the event, which will be held rain or shine, providing that roadways are open.

As of press time on Wednesday, several roads in Bradford, Wyoming Susquehanna and Sullivan counties were closed. Festival organizers suggest checking first before setting out for the festival by calling their information line at 570-746-2324.

“It’s a great time to see a lot of people you don’t normally get to see,” said Cheryl Keeney of Tuscarora Wayne Insurance, one of four “Champagne” sponsors for the festival. Other companies to step up to the $1,000 sponsorship level this year include Chesapeake Energy, Gannon Associates, and Peoples State Bank. “Burgundy” sponsors this year include Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, Dandy Mini Marts, the Kilmer Group, S.M. Smith and Company, Visions Federal Credit Union, Wyalusing Florist and Gifts, and the Wyalusing Hotel.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Wyalusing Valley Museum and at Ace Hardware, Route 6, Wyalusing, at $20 each. Admission on the day of the event is set at $25.

According to wine festival sponsor coordinator Pat Brown, the event was originally conceived as a fundraiser for the Wyalusing Valley Museum, but has evolved with the help of the Wyalusing Lions and Lioness Clubs, both of which are also beneficiaries of a portion of the proceeds. The value of the event extends well beyond the assistance it offers the nonprofit organizations, Brown explained.

“It helps many businesses in the area,” she stated, noting that many of the patrons build a weekend getaway around the wine festival and spend money at other local eateries and on lodging. Members of Wyalusing Valley High School’s Leo Club earn community service credits by helping to set up and clean up after the event, though they won’t be seen during the festival itself.

Sponsor representatives like Maxine Meteer of Peoples State Bank and Dana Beyer of Gannon Associates noted that a wide variety of food is offered by wine festival vendors, and the addition of beer and other beverages in recent years has attracted patrons who aren’t quite as enthusiastic about wine as some of their friends.

For those who come primarily for the wine, Pennsylvania-based companies such as Antler Ridge, Bartolai, Benigna’s Creek, Capra Collina, Ferrone Family, Grovedale, Hidden Creek, Maiolatesi, Nimble Hill, Pickering, Sand Castle, and Shade Mountain wineries and vineyards will serve up samples of their most popular varieties in hopes that each patron will discover a few new favorites. Additional vendors will offer fudge, jewelry, craft items, and more. The Wyalusing Swing Choir will offer several performances, and a disc jockey will fill in the gaps with a variety of hits to appease all generations.

Festival organizers noted that the event has become a tradition of its own accord and is regarded by regular patrons as the “adults’ carnival,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the community’s annual firemen’s carnival. While everyone involved with the event wants participants to have a good time, they take the prospect of drinking and driving seriously. Designated drivers and patrons under 21-years-old are invited to attend the event for $5 and are not permitted to imbibe in alcoholic beverages. Pennsylvania State Police help to patrol the area during the event, and anybody with a DD or “under 21” band who is seen tasting wine will be asked to leave the festival immediately.

For more information, readers may email info@wyalusingwinefestival.com or call 570-746-2324 prior to Friday, Sept. 9. Cash, checks, and money orders will be accepted for point-of-sale purchases. Handicap-accessible parking will be available for those with proper vehicle designation. Pets will not be permitted on the grounds.

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