The largest all-Missouri wine tasting event kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday in Downtown Washington.
In addition to the wine, there will be a juried art show, live music, dance demonstrations and special food/wine pairing sessions.
The activities are all part of the 32nd annual Downtown Washington Fine Art Fair & Winefest.
“It’s always a fun event and really offers something for everyone,” said Aimee Frey, event director for Downtown Washington Inc., sponsor.
“The dancing demonstrations are new and we have a great lineup of wineries and artists, many of whom are new to the festival,” Frey said.
The event is held rain or shine, she said.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed on the weather,” she added. The forecast is calling for highs in the 80s and just slight chances for rain.
“We’re expecting big crowds if the weather is good,” Frey said. “Friday night is usually a more local crowd, but Saturday and Sunday should bring in thousands of visitors to the historic downtown.”
More than 60 wines from 14 Missouri wineries will be poured for tasting under the Farmers’ Market.
Frey said winery representatives also will be on hand to talk about their products which guests always seem to enjoy.
All wines poured in tasting will be available for sale, with a 10 percent discount on case purchases, mix or match.
Participating wineries this year include Adam Puchta Winery, Augusta Winery, Balducci Vineyards, Bias Winery, Blumenhof Winery, Holy Grail Winery, Montelle Winery;
Noboleis Winery, Robller Vineyards, St. James Winery, St. Jordan Creek Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Wenwood Farm Winery and White Mule Winery.
Complimentary cheese and crackers will be provided in the tasting area under the wine tent, with a variety of snacks and gourmet foods on sale in the festival area.
Admission to the winetasting is $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and includes a souvenir wineglass.
Frey said visitors to the wine tasting area also will have an opportunity to win a special wine basket prepared by a participating winery.
Hours for the winetasting will be Friday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Held along Main and Elm streets, the Art Fair will include a juried selection of 23 Midwestern artists. Their art work will be available to purchase.
The artists will be set up on Main Street from Lafayette to Cedar, and on Elm Street, from Main to Second.
Frey said items will include watercolor paintings, photography, pottery, woodwork and other mediums.
“We will have a really nice mix of artwork,” she said. “I think people will like what they see.”
Admission is free. The hours will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wine, Food Sessions
Returning for the second year will be the MO Wine MO Food wine and food pairing sessions.
Frey said participants can choose from four different food and wine pairing sessions, each featuring a local restaurant and Missouri winery.
“It’s not too late to sign up for these sessions,” she noted.
Admission to the food and wine pairing is $25, and is limited to 32 people per session. The ticket also includes a complimentary wineglass and 10 percent off wine coupon.
The 2013 pairings are Robller Winery with Joe’s Bakery & Delicatessen, Stone Hill Winery with Big Boys Subs and Wings, Blumenhof Winery with Old Vine Riverfront Bistro, and Noboleis Winery with Blue Duck Café and Bakery.
The times for these sessions will be Saturday, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
There also will be continuous entertainment throughout the weekend.
The lineup will begin Friday with Crazy Aunt Linda from 6 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, The Kay Brothers will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. and Sunday’s entertainment will be the ECC Jazz Band.
Frey said a new event this year will be dancing demonstrations.
On Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., visitors can join professional Bachata and salsa dance instructors .
On Sunday, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., people can learn the art of polka and swing dancing.
Street musicians also will play throughout the weekend.
“This is a great event to catch up with friends and family, and just sit under the rest tent to enjoy the atmosphere, music and wine,” Frey said.