By Paul T. Choate
April 10, 2013. The eighth annual Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival is set to return to Blowing Rock for wine, food and fun on April 10-14. Grillin’ and Chillin’ has already sold out but there are still tickets available for several other events.
According to Billie Rogers, Blowing Rock Chamber events director, there are still plenty of tickets available for many other events but they are going fast. She also said some of the seminars are filling up quickly.
There are several events coming up for High Country residents to enjoy and there are still opportunities to volunteer for the festival.
One of Blowing Rock’s premiere events, the festival has been called one of the “10 southern festivals you need to taste” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The festival kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. at the Best Cellar Restaurant. Special to this year, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is partnering with the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival to bring Alaska Seafood to the Festival.
“The whole thing is very exciting,” said Billie Rogers, Blowing Rock Chamber events director. “To be honest I’m kind of looking forward to this wine festival being maybe one of the biggest we’ve ever done.”
According to Rogers there are going to be six different courses of Alaskan seafood at the kickoff dinner on Wednesday evening.
Then on Thursday, one of the most popular events of the festival, “Uncork! the Festival” takes place in the Grand Tasting Tent on Maple Street starting at 6 p.m. It will be a culinary delight of Alaska seafood and other fresh meats, fruits and veggies with some very special reserve wines not offered at the Grand Tasting.
This year, Uncork! will be a little different, with some new restaurants catering the event that have not in prior years. Along with old favorite The Table at Crestwood, Casa Rustica, Char and Makoto’s Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar will be joining the party. There will also be live music during the event.
“It’s going to be more of a party atmosphere. Soul Benefactor is the band that is going to be playing under there so that will be a lot of fun,” Rogers said.
Tickets to the event are $35 in advance or $45 at the door. There are still plenty of tickets available for Uncork!
From 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will host “Cork and Canvas” where an instructor will help visitors recreate a masterpiece.
Tickets to the event are $35 for members or $45 for non-members.
Also on Thursday, festival attendees will be able to take a winery tour of the four area wineries — Grandfather Vineyards, 1861 Farmhouse, Linville Falls Winery and Banner Elk Winery. Tour details are not finalized yet and Rogers said she wasn’t sure if there was going to be a shuttle or if attendees would just be given self-guide maps. Call the Blowing Rock Chamber for further details on the tour.
On Friday, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the ever popular annual Grillin’ and Chillin’ takes place at the Grand Tasting Tent. A whole hog pig pickin’, Alaska seafood and all the “fixins” will be available. And to go with the meal, enjoy a selection of North Carolina wines, North Carolina craft-made beers and live music courtesy of The Grey Birds.
Tickets to the event were $35 in advance or $45 at the door, but have sold out according to Vaughn
Saturday is slam-packed with events and kicks off early with a brand new event — the Chetola Resort Corkscrew 5K — at 7:30 a.m. The run will take the early birds in attendance through some of the more interesting parts of the town of Blowing Rock as the sun is coming up.
Tickets to the event are $25 in advance or $35 the day of.
After the run, stop by Bald Guy Brew for a coffee cupping session beginning at 9 a.m.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Grand Tasting kicks off. The Grand Tasting is the centerpiece of the Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival. Located in the heart of Downtown Blowing Rock under the main tent, the tasting showcases a wide assortment of wines from North Carolina wineries as well as from vineyards around the globe. Find new favorites among international, domestic and NC vintages. Light fare will be available featuring Alaska seafood and much more. The Grand Tasting will run until 6 p.m. to allow time for a meal at your favorite Blowing Rock eatery in between (or with) glasses of wine.
Parking will be available at Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway, two downtown parking decks and around town. The Wine Festival shuttle will make stops at the Grand Wine Tasting, in Downtown Blowing Rock and Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway, so you can always get back to your vehicle with ease. Whether you should be driving or not after the Grand Tasting is a different matter altogether.
Tickets to the event are $35 in advance or $45 at the event.
If you’re still coherent after the tasting and want to enjoy a night of prohibition era themed fun, the Green Park Inn will be hosting The Great Green Park Gatsby Party with a collection of wines from Robert Biale Vineyards. Attendees are encouraged to dress in theme-appropriate 1930s attire.
Tickets to the event are $60.
However, if a good murder mystery is more your thing, the Meadowbrook Inn will be hosting a Murder Mystery evening presented by Ensemble Stage starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday. The event will feature bottomless dessert trays, wine tastings, music and at least one murder. The event is for adults only and attendees are encouraged to “leave the kids (and anyone with good taste) in the hotel room,” according to Rogers.
Tickets to the event are $42.
Canyons will be featuring live music on Saturday night courtesy of Acoustic Syndicate, a mainstay of the live music scene throughout the Southeast, beginning at 9 p.m.
Tickets to the show are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Finally, after a whirlwind of wine, food and fun, the event come to a close on Sunday with champagne brunches at Blowing Rock Grille, Bistro Roca and Canyons. Foggy Rock will also be hosting a Sunday Beer Brunch Crab Boil beginning at noon on Sunday.
Throughout the festival, several area restaurants will be holding winemakers dinners.
Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Rogers said people should make their plans soon — especially those coming from out of town — because some Blowing Rock hotels are already booked to capacity for the festival.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit blueridgewinefestival.com.