Of hayrides and chardonnay

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

October 11, 2013

DOBSON — The staff at Shelton Vineyards is busy preparing for a what it hopes will be a record crowd at what is rapidly becoming a harvest-season favorite: The eighth annual Harvest Festival.

The event kicks off today at 6:30 p.m. and runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, and from noon until 6 p.m. Sunday.

It is free and open to the public.

While the weather is supposed to be near-perfect, rain will not dampen the event, which is scheduled rain or shine.

Organizers say the event will feature something for everyone, especially the wine lover.

“We’re going to have vendors offering hand-crafted items, free tours and wine tastings, and fresh local produce on hand,” said John Gillespie, vice president of operations for the vineyard. “There will be games for the kids, face-painting and hayrides.”

Gillespie said there will be plenty to eat as well.

“We’re going to have food provided outside by the Harvest Grill Express, and the grill will be open for lunch and dinner,” he said, noting that reservations are strongly recommended during lunch and dinner.

And for the music lover, the event will offer plenty of toe-tapping tunes.

“Throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of opportunities to relax and listen to some good bluegrass,” Gillespie said. “We have lined up the Zephyr Lightning Bolts, the North Carolina Thumb and Finger Pickers, Rain Check and Highway 52, who will be performing.”

For those who want to pick up a case, or four, of Shelton Vineyards’ award-winning wines, there is no worry.

“This year there will be a wine pickup tent available,” he said. “We’re going to offer visitors the chance to purchase wines and we’ll take it to the tent. When you’re ready to leave, we’ll take it to your car so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with it all day.”

Gillespie said the weather should be perfect for this year’s festival.

“We think there will be something for everyone to enjoy,” he said. “We hope everyone comes out. It’s supposed to be great weather, so we’re looking forward to another awesome festival.”

The event has been growing with each year, and Gillespie said it normally draws around 10,000 people over the course of the weekend.

“We hope everyone comes out and enjoys it,” he said.

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.