Rain or shine, the Downtown Washington Fine Art Fair & Winefest will go on this weekend, featuring Missouri wines, juried artwork, live entertainment and food vendors.
All of the activities will be held on and around the Main and Elm parking lot.
“The forecast doesn’t look good right now but, hey, it’s Missouri and that could change,” said Bridgette Kelch, executive director of Downtown Washington Inc., which sponsors the festival.
“But no matter the weather, we will make the best of it and we have plenty of cover for people,” she said. “The winetasting will be under the Farmers’ Market and there will be many tents set up.”
If the rain holds off, Kelch said she expects big crowds.
“This is our biggest festival of the year and a community favorite,” she said. “We sure hope people will come down and support us.”
Kelch said the event will feature two new wineries and many new artists who will line two blocks of Elm and Main streets.
The art fair is again being coordinated by the Arts Council of Washington (ACOW) in conjunction with Downtown Washington Inc.
“We are excited to welcome 36 artists to the streets of Washington,” said Nora Bellows, ACOW president. “The caliber and variety of art available this year will be outstanding for our festivalgoers.”
Art on sale will include watercolor paintings, photography, woodwork, jewelry, pottery and fiber.
Local artist Jim Peters will have a booth and Justin Noelke, formerly of Washington, will have his sculptures on display and for sale.
The arts council also will have several community art projects onsite this weekend, including the popular art car, which people can write on and decorate, community sculptures and murals.
“Festivalgoers are encouraged to participate in these community projects — we hope to see you there,” said Bellows.
Admission is free. The hours will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kelch said more than 60 wines from 10 Missouri wineries will be poured for tasting. Winery representatives will be on hand to talk about their products.
Participating wineries this year include Augusta Winery, Balducci Vineyards, Belmont Vineyards, Lake Creek Winery, Montelle Winery, Noboleis Vineyards, Small Batch Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Wenwood Farm Winery and White Mule Winery.
Kelch said the festival is the largest all-Missouri winetasting event.
All wines poured in tasting will be available for sale, with a 10 percent discount on case purchases, mix or match.
Winefest hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
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. Visitors also will have an opportunity to win a special wine basket prepared by a participating winery.
Sip and Savor
Kelch said Sip and Savor Sunday will return again this year.
“This event is designed to provide seasoned winetasting guests or first-time visitors with a truly memorable experience that will allow them to celebrate spring, indulge their senses and learn more about pairing great area restaurant foods with fabulous Missouri wines,” she said.
Wineries will pick one or two of their wines and pair them up with an area restaurant to showcase the pairing.
Celebrity judges from Feast magazine will be on hand to award the traveling trophy to this year’s winner.
Visitors won’t be left out though as there is also an award from people’s choice.
Sip and Savor will run Sunday only from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased the same day.
Live entertainment will kick off Friday with Pilot Grove from 6 to 10 p.m.
On Saturday, there will be a presentation, Winetasting 101, from noon to 1 p.m. followed by Marissa Harms from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Savana from 6 to 10 p.m.
The East Central College Jazz Band will play Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The winetasting presentation is new this year and we will have a special speaker talking about how to pair wines and certain foods,” Kelch said. “It should be educational and entertaining.”
Food vendors will be set up on the Main and Elm parking lot all weekend.