It will be a festival for the senses when the 31st annual Downtown Washington Fine Art Fair & Winefest opens Friday night.
Visitors can sample wines, view artwork, listen to live music and enjoy a variety of snacks at the food court during the three-day event, sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc.
“We’re excited and ready to go,” said Aimee Frey, event coordinator. “The weather forecast looks great so we’re expecting big crowds.”
All of the activities will take place on and around the Main and Elm parking lot in the heart of downtown. The artists will be set up on Main and Elm streets and the wineries will be located under the Farmers’ Market pavilion. Live entertainment and the food court will be located on parking lots.
Now in its 31st year, the festival draws visitors each spring from across the Midwest. Frey said the event is the largest all-Missouri winery tasting event.
“If the weather is good we usually draw about 20,000 people over the three days,” she said.
Food, Wine 101
New this year will be a Missouri food and wine 101 class. This event will feature four different food and wine pairing sessions where participants can learn while they sip and eat. Frey said participating wineries and restaurants are teaming up to offer a selection of wines with a specific menu.
A tent will be set up on Main Street where participants can talk to representatives from the winery and restaurant and learn why a particular wine goes well with certain food.
Tickets are still available for some of the sessions, said Frey. Sessions will be limited to 24 people each.
Participating wineries and the restaurants they are partnering with are as follows:
Saturday — Montelle Winery/American Bounty Restaurant, noon to 1 p.m., and Augusta Winery and Joe’s Bakery & Delicatessen, 4 to 5 p.m.
Sunday — St. James Winery and Basket Case Deli & Cafe, noon to 1 p.m., (sold out), and Noboleis Winery and Cafe Mosaic, 3 to 4 p.m.
Tickets can be obtained by calling the Downtown Washington Inc. office, 636-239-1743.
Frey said more than 60 wines from 14 Missouri wineries will be poured for tasting, with winery representatives on hand to talk about their products.
All wines poured in the 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, Belmont Vineyards, Bias Winery, Blumenhof Winery, La Dolce Vita Winery, Montelle Winery, Noboleis Winery, OakGlenn Winery, Robller Vineyards, St. James Winery, St. Jordan Creek Winery, Stone Hill Winery and White Mule Winery.
Complimentary cheese and crackers will again 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 to the winetasting area also will have the opportunity to win a special wine basket prepared by a participating winery.
The winetasting hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
About 28 Midwestern artists will participate in the Art Fair, Frey said, and all artwork will be available for purchase.
“We have some really great artists this year and about half of them are new to the event,” she said.
Frey said the artwork will include watercolor paintings, photography, pottery, woodwork, jewelry, sculpture and clay.
Admission to the Art Fair is free. The hours are Friday, 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Additionally, there will be continuous entertainment throughout the weekend. Street musicians also will play throughout the weekend.
The musical lineup is as follows:
Friday, 6 to 10 p.m., Anonymous X;
Saturday, 12:30 to 4 p.m., ECC Jazz Band; and 6 to 10 p.m., Dick and Jane;
Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., Chiaband.
Frey invites everyone in the community to attend.
“The weather is going to be beautiful and there’s so much to see and do,” she said. “People can sit under the rest tent to enjoy the atmosphere, the music and the wine.”
For more information, people may call 636-239-1743 or email email@example.com.