By Tzar Wilkerson
Looking for a fun and interesting way to spend your Saturday? Come visit the Village of Banner Elk for the Avery County Wine & Beer Festival for a day of wine and beer tasting and exploring the Village’s venues on June 29th from 12-5 p.m.. According to Melynda Pepple, Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, “Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. It allows 20 tastes, so every participant receives a tasting card and the selections of what’s there so they can taste and, if they want to, purchase the product afterwards. You receive your tasting glass and your card, and then you have the day of being in the complex enjoying live music, and eating, and having fun.”
In recent years, the High Country’s wineries and breweries have become increasingly popular with both tourists and locals alike – and with good reason. Pepple explained the role of the festival in supporting both the Chamber of Commerce and the participating wineries and breweries, “This is a great way to list up our local wineries and breweries – that’s how it started years ago. They actually started the festival to help benefit the chamber. They came up with the idea, kinda like a hand-in-hand, ‘We’ll help you and you help us’”. This year’s participants will include Banner Elk Winery & Villa, Lake James Cellars Winery, Beech Mountain, Linville Falls Winery, Eagles Nest Winery, Lost Province Brewing Co., Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, and Watauga Lake Winery. The event is sponsored by Sylvester & Cockrum, Inc.
Aside from the selection of wine and beer tastings, there are plenty of other attractions in the area. “The area between Sorrento’s [Italian Bistro] dining complex and the Bayou [Smokehouse & Grill] is called the Village of Banner Elk,” said Pepple, “they’ll have live music all day, we have an ice cream shop there, an arcade, there’s a restaurant serving tacos. Sorento’s does specials, Bayou does specials, so it’s a great way to come and eat good food, mingle, drink good wine and beer, and learn about our area. Of course, we’ve got the art galleries right there through town and you can visit the college – I mean, it’s a great way to spend the Saturday. There’s a lot going on! It’s a good way to get more knowledge about what we do here.”
Pictures from last year’s event: