The temperatures were warm, the sun was shining, music filled the air, and the wines were flowing as the 14th annual Yadkin Valley Grape Festival took place in downtown Yadkinville Saturday.
There was an atmosphere of fun, relaxation and enjoyment as friends met up to celebrate momentous occasions, like N-Fynitie Walters’ 21st birthday, and the many flavors of wines created in the Yadkin Valley.
For Craig and Cynthia Carlson, who now live in Boone, but lived for many years in California and spent their time visiting wineries there, Saturday’s event was an escape from the crowds flocking to Boone for parent weekend and the Appalachian State University home football game as well as a couple of festivals taking place in the High Country.
“This is our first time, we like it. It’s a nice size and the music is good,” said Craig as he took a break from tasting wines at Lazy Elm Vineyard and Winery’s tent.
“We were doing an online search for something to do for the weekend, and we were going to go to a couple of wineries but we could hit this all at one time with 20 wineries here,” said Cynthia. “We like the community feel. It’s just a great way to sample everything.”
Kathy Anderson and Amanda Durham of Hamptonville didn’t have to travel far for the festival, but they were still enjoying the time away from home. “It’s nice to get a feel for the different wineries and what they specialize in all in one place,” said Anderson as the duo finished tasting at Piccione Winery’s table.
“This is my first time at the festival,” Durham said. “It is a beautiful day.”
For Nola Dillard of Harmony, she found a new winery to enjoy. “I usually like Weathervane, but the guy who helped us at Shadow Springs and Windsor Run was wonderful,” she said.
A crowd of friends wearing matching shirts, except one young lady, came to the festival in witches hats, which they quickly shed due to the frustration of keeping them on their heads with the light breeze that was blowing. They traveled from Burlington to celebrate N-Fynitie Walters’ 21st birthday. Walters’ shirt read, “This witch is 21,” while everyone else’s shirts read, “Which witch is 21?”
“It seems a little busier, but it’s probably the weather,” said Bobby Todd, president of the sponsoring Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce. “We purposefully keep ours a little smaller, because we don’t have a huge area. We limit the number of Yadkin Valley wineries that pour, and we have none of the same type of vendors.”
He said the photo booth was a popular stop for visitors to the festival, and he noted the musicians, 60 Watt Combo and Phatt City, who bring a following of fans with them.
In addition to vendors and wineries, a good showing of food trucks were an attraction for those wine tasting and those who just wanted to come downtown to walk around, shop and listen to good music.
For a four-some of ladies from Beckley, West Virginia, and one of their husbands, the weekend, which began as a trip to get their Mini Cooper serviced in Winston-Salem, has become an annual journey.
“This is our fourth year,” said Gloria Krass. “We found it, and now we make it an adventure each year.”
Todd did say he noticed the advanced sales of tickets were up a little from previous years as well. “Everybody has a good time, and that’s what we’re after.”
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.