Last updated: May 31. 2013 10:22PM - 362 Views
Lindsay Craven
Staff Writer

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The Yadkin Valley Grape Festival will return to Yadkinville for its ninth year to celebrate Yadkin Valley grape farmers and the wines they make.

The Yadkin Valley Grape Festival will be held in the public parking lot in downtown Yadkinville from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20.

Entry into the festival is free, but anyone who wants to taste the wines will be required to purchase a ticket.

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the festival. A special military discount will be available the day of the festival. With military ID tickets will be issued for the advance ticket price of $15. A commemorative wine glass is included in the ticket price.

Tickets can be purchased by going online at www.yvgf.com or by stopping by the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce. Tickets can be purchased in advance until Friday, Oct. 19.

The festival got its start in 2003 after the Town of Yadkinville approved wine sales. The festival’s first year was held alongside the Yadkin Valley Harvest Festival. A small collection of five or six wineries took up a small corner of the festival and member of the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce knew that this needed to become an event all its own.

“We realized that this could probably turn into something more successful and there were more wineries opening up so we decided we would do a standalone wine festival in 2004,” said Jamie Johnston, administrative assistant for the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce. “That year we got to like 10 or 12 wineries and every year we’ve continued to grow.”

Johnston said that this year the festival will have 26 wineries offering tastings. The chamber has reached the maximum number of wineries that it can host and the lineup is now a first come first served program.

“We decided that with the new wineries opening up it was a good way for those wineries to introduce themselves and showcase their wines,” Johnston said. “The whole reason was to bring more tourism to the area, showcase the wineries and it’s been a great festival.”

Festival goers can enjoy the ticket program which allows attendees to purchase wine at any of the 26 wineries and take a ticket to pick it up at the end of the festival. A tent will be set up beside the chamber of commerce where volunteers will provide you with your purchases at the end of your trip.

Festival goers won’t just be enjoying some of the best wine that the Yadkin Valley has to offer but they will also have the opportunity to shop local arts and crafts vendors and commercial vendors as well.

“We’ll have 25 other specialty vendors,” Johnston said. “Most of our vendors are arts and crafts but there are a few that are commercial and are sponsors of the festival. We have several food vendors set up as well.”

Music will be performed live throughout the festival on Elm Street.

Johnston said that last year’s festival saw a total of 4,000 visitors with approximately 1,700 tasting the wines. This year the chamber has a goal of 5,000 to 6,000 granted the weather holds out for the outdoor event.

“It looks like our weather’s going to be great because it’s an outdoor event and so we need nice weather to be a success,” Johnston said. “We want the festival to continue to grow but we also want to try to keep it a small town festival too.”

Johnston said that the most important thing that festival goers should remember is to bring their ID with them. Ticket holders will not be allowed admittance into the festival without adequate proof of age. Those not wishing to take part in wine tastings at the festival will not be checked for ID.

While the festival may end at 5 p.m., festival goers can still continue to take in wine and food by heading to the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center for the Wine Down event.

This event lasts from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and free food and wine will be available until they run out. A drum circle will provide entertainment for the Wine Down crew and everyone is encouraged to participate by bringing their own drumming instrument.

“It’s just a time to relax after the festival,” Johnston said.

For additional questions about the festival, contact Jamie Johnston at (336) 679-2200.

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@heartlandpublications.com.

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