DOBSON — If the parking situation is any indication, attendance at this year’s eighth annual Harvest Festival is one for the record books.
Thousands turned out for the event, which organizers say is designed to celebrate the end of the harvest season, sipping on wine, listening to live music and munching on burgers and dogs prepared by the Harvest Grill.
This year’s harvest festival featured vendors offering hand-crafted items, free tours and wine tastings, and fresh local produce. For the young and young-at-heart, there were games, face painting and hayrides.
During the event, held Saturday, couples strolled around the manicured grounds and sat by a babbling brook sipping on award-winning wine and enjoying the mild weather.
“The turnout has been great,” said owner Ed Shelton as he negotiated the hundreds crammed into the vineyards’ tasting room. “It’s looking like this is going to be our best year ever.”
Shelton said the event is a chance to open up the vineyard and winery to the public.
“It’s a chance to let people taste some of our wines and hopefully get some new customers,” he said as he loaded cases of wine for some customers. “And people are spending some money.”
According to Shelton, attendees came from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio to attend the event.
“We have a lot of out-of-town visitors this year,” he said. “And they’re spending money, staying locally and eating out. This is great for the local economy.”
And visitors had nothing but good things to say about the day.
“We heard about it on the Internet, and we like to travel and try new wines and wineries,” said Jeff Callicutt, who traveled with his wife Sheila from Whitsett. “We heard about it in Pilot Mountain when we stopped there earlier today.
“This is a really nice place,” he said as he looked over the vineyard. “We’re going to spend a little bit of money today.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.