Alcohol Sales at the Apple Festival
Serving alcohol at the Apple Festival. The Apple Festival Board hasn't taken up the issue, but winemakers say it's a growing part of the county's farmland and needs to be a part of the festival.
"I think there's a place for wine, hard cider, and beer at the Apple Festival, because it's a part of agriculture and agri-tourism," says Alan Ward with St. Paul Mountain Vineyards. Ward says his crop of grapes is looking good for another year of wine production. He says this fruit, and the apples he grows for cider, should be an annual part of one of the largest street festivals in the mountains. "The people who participate in the wine industry, myself, and Burntshirt and others to come and propose some ideas that would be tasteful, would be family oriented that would make sense for Henderson County to where we could have a presence at the Apple Festival," he says.
Ward says wine tasting is part of most vineyards' business, a chance for visitors to see what they're tasting. He wants to join the festival, to encourage people to visit the wine, beer, and cider-makers. "Explain where we are, what we do, and how we do it, and get people to come out on the farm. I think that would be a first step," he says.
"We're really excited about the breweries that's coming into our county, the wineries, the cideries, that have come into our community, and there may be some way to partner with them, but I don't think we're going to be in position we're going to be looking at any kind of alcohol on this street," says Apple Festival Director, David Nicholson.
Nicholson says the Apple Festival focuses on a family atmosphere during the four-day event. He says Main Street has numerous bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. He also says a beer or wine garden setup away from Main Street could work. "I don't see us doing it, in a controlled environment, I think it works real well, but having it just up and down the street where people come and go off the blocks, I don't think it works for our festival," says Nicholson.
"The second step would be to have an area that would be a nice area where people could come and taste, not get a glass to walk down Main Street," says Ward. Ward says he plans to propose some sort of presence for beer, wine, and hard cider producers next year.
This year's festival begins Friday, August 29th and runs through September 1st.