By ANDREA FORCUM
Celebrating its 21st year, the Fredericksburg Area Wine Festival enamored and charmed guests on the banks of the Rappahannock this past weekend, Oct. 8 and 9, boasting eight wineries and a brewery.
If you ever wanted to get your drink on before 5p.m. but still feel classy while enjoying some sun, wine festivals are definitely the way to go. Wine festivals aren’t the place to get trashy drunk, but to enjoy some never-ending vino in a super relaxed atmosphere.
Guests enjoyed not only wine, but the flawless weather and other events at the festival. In addition to the wine glass and tastings included in the entry price, they were raffling off wine, vacations and even cars.
Adding to the charisma of the festival were the small business owners lining up in between the wine tents. Almost anything you would want to eat with wine could be found in a neighboring tent: baguettes dipped in flavored oils, all-natural cheese and decadent brownies.
The festival was also surprisingly family friendly. They had Pockets the Clown making balloon animals, Aubrey Treakles Barrel Train and face painting. There were several vendors that catered to the young connoisseurs in a carny-inspired tent serving up everything from fries and burgers to funnel cakes.
The crowds were serenaded by a lively band, Plum Nasty, who were unfortunately positioned far away from most of the other festivities. In fact, they were so far from the main stretch that it was hard to tell exactly where the band was located until we stumbled upon it while walking towards the picnic tables.
Cooking demonstrations by The Little Red School House taught festival guests how to cook with the wines they were trying and purchasing.
In the afternoon, the 30-and 40-something’s began dancing on the lawn which provided its own unique brand of entertainment. The band at that point had stopped and a greatest hits selection played over the speakers, prompting some moves that required immense coordination with a glass in one hand and a bottle in the other.
People watching aside, the festival had a lot to offer for the $20 ticket price. All of the tastings were given by accommodating and knowledgeable staff and the overall spirit of the crowd was relaxed and jovial. If nothing else, the festival supported local businesses and was the perfect way to kick off autumn.
Image courtesy of Andrea Forcum/Bullet