The Adirondack Wine & Food Festival is returning this summer, scheduled to take place June 25 and 26 at Charles R. Wood Festival Commons in Lake George Village.
The event debuted in 2015, run by Adirondack Festivals LLC, a company formed by the owners of Adirondack Winery in Lake George.
“This festival celebrates the bounty of amazing craft beverages and locally made foods that New York has to offer,” said Adirondack Winery owner Sasha Pardy.
The festival is a farmer’s market-style (rain or shine) event where over 50 wineries, craft beverage and specialty food vendors set up tents, serve samples and sell their products, giving festival-goers the opportunity to “try before they buy.”
A festival ticket ($35 at the gate, $25 pre-sale) gets the attendee access to the event for one day and a commemorative festival wine glass to be used to sample the hundreds of hand-crafted products available, plus take the glass home with them.
Festival officials said at current count, 15 wineries, three breweries, four distilleries and two cideries have committed, plus several artisan food producers including cheese, maple syrup, desserts and more. By the time the festival rolls around, over 50 vendors are expected.
“Festival Commons is the perfect spot for an event like ours. It’s got ample green space, nearby parking, and walking access to plentiful hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops for our attendees to enjoy before and after the festival,” said Pardy.
Stephanie Ottino, festival coordinator said the goal for 2016 is 5,000 attendees, which would double last year’s attendance.
“We were quite pleased with last year’s attendance of 2,500 people, especially considering our goal for a sunny weekend was 3,000 people and we were burdened with a heavy rain forecast leading up to the event and both Saturday night and all day Sunday had rain showers,” Ottino said.
“That said, our festival brought an important demographic to Lake George. On average our attendees are females, age 25-44 with buying power. Statistics show that wine tourists have a 16 percent higher income than the average tourist or individual,” she noted.
Pardy said the event is receiving a $63,000 grant from New York State’s Taste New York program to help fund the festival. The money comes from the state’s Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program, created to increase the profile, awareness and sales of New York state-produced wine, beer, spirits, and hard cider, all of which will be present at the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival.
With an estimation that the festival will generate demand for 1,250 room nights for the region, the Warren County Occupancy Tax Committee and the Village and Town of Lake George also awarded $15,000 in funding to the event, said Pardy.
To be considered for the Craft Beverage Grant, Ottino submitted a lengthy application to Empire State Development, showing that the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival would not only benefit the Lake George region, but also many craft beverage and specialty food producers from around the state.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said his agency “is proud to support the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival and we look forward to getting the diverse and delicious products of local businesses in front of thousands of enthusiasts at the event in June.”
Pardy said that with the addition of the Taste NY funding, “we’re able to expand our marketing campaign to include advertising through multiple mediums including print and digital, social media, radio, television, billboards and more. We’ll have a presence reaching not just the Lake George/Glens Falls region, but also the Adirondacks, Albany, Hudson Valley, Vermont, New York City, Long Island and more.”
The SUNY Adirondack Foundation has been named as the designated beneficiary of the festival for the second year in a row. A portion of ticket sales will go to that the nonprofit group.
“What better group to work with than SUNY Adirondack, which has a growing culinary arts program,” said Pardy. SUNY Adirondack culinary arts program faculty and students will be at the festival running cooking demonstrations.
For tickets and information, visit www.ADKWINEFEST.com.