Wine, Beer and Food Festival returns to Ogdensburg Saturday
From left, are Laura Pearson, executive director; Betsy Porter, event co-chair; Nicolas Bertrand, corporate sponsor; John Wade, event co-chair; and Sean McNamara, chamber president.
By ADAM ATKINSON
OGDENSBURG – The return of the much lauded Cheesecake on a Stick is one of the culinary highlights attendees at the 2017 North Country Wine, Beer and Food Festival can expect when they walk through the doors at the Lockwood Civic Center next week.The festival is scheduled for Friday, May 12, from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday, May 13, from noon-6 p.m.
After more than 10 years of staging the event, drawing attendees requires evolution and change, said organizer Laura Pearson, executive director of Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce, the organization hosting the event.
“We’ve tweeked it…and added new things,” said Pearson. “We keep trying to improve it.”
“We have new vendors this year,” she said. Among them, Hawkshaw Apiaries will be on hand with a variety of honey products for the first time this year. “That’s pretty cool, that’s different.”
She said there will be at least 10 different wineries on hand, a large variety of food, and a beer vendor to be announced.
“We have some eclectic food to throw into the mix with the wineries.”
Pearson said attendance this year is expected to be as high as last year, which saw more than 1,000 people sampling food and drink and shopping at the event.
When asked what seems to draw the community to the event year after year, Pearson said “I think its just because its so unique.”
She said the event being scheduled over Mother’s Day should help keep attendance high as well.
“You can treat your mom, you can buy you mom lunch,” she said.
The festival is one of the largest chamber fundraisers for the year, Pearson said. The organization now holds six events per year to raise money for its endeavors.
“But sponsorships are up this year for all the events we have held so far,” she said.
Promotion of the other events will take place at Wine, Beer and Food. “Hopefully we are going to have an antique car (to promote Carbecue),” said Pearson.
Getting the word out has taken a modern turn compared to in years’ past. To promote the Food Festival, Pearson said the chamber has utilized social media to a greater extent this year than ever before, receiving a great deal of feedback through its Facebook page regarding the event.
The following vendors plan to attend: AT&T, Adirondack Toboggan, Americana Vineyards & Winery, AppleGrove Farm, Basta’s, Bechaz Riverdale Cheese, Bertrand’s Construction, Busted Grapes, Cosimano & Ferrari Olive Oil, Coyote Moon, Eye Candy, Fobare’s Grill & Catering, Gracious Friends Animal Shelter, Harvest Herb Company, Hawkshaw Farms;
And, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Healthy Way, Kim’s Cheesecake on a Stick, KP’s Kettle Corn, Lakeland Winery, LuLaRue Fashions, M&T Concessions, Michiko Taylor, Natural Nook, Not Your Average Cookie, Ogdensburg Association of Senior Citizens, Ogdensburg SnackPack Program, Otter Creek Winery;
As well as, Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, Radiant Gem/River House Soap, Raymor Estate Cellars LLC, RiverMyst Winery, The Gifted Grape, Thirty-One Gifts, Three Brothers Wineries, Thousand Island’s Wineries, Traveling Vineyard, Venditti Vineyards and Zahler’s Maple Products.
The chamber will continue to add vendors as the festival approaches.
In addition to the vendors, local artists, music, raffles and other activities are slated.
Pearson said having full band performances providing the music last year at the festival was somewhat distracting for vendors and attendees due to the volume. This year DJ Scott Boyer will play music from 6-8 p.m. Friday, and Pat Duffy will provide acoustic guitar music Saturday from 2-6 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for veterans; children younger than 12 will be admitted free.
The first 1,000 adult attendees will receive either a pilsner glass or a wine glass.