Taste, savor, sample, and sip regional flavors and wines in a week-long celebration Westfield, NY - The Chautauqua Lake Erie Wine Trail, Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, and the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau announce the second annual celebration of regional flavors in America's Grape Country, August 15-23, 2009. The nine day event kicks off with the America's Grape Country Wine Festival, western New York's largest wine event, at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds, August 15-16. The AGC Wine Festival features wine sampling, sales, educational wine seminars, arts and crafts, and live music. Then, all week long, wineries, markets, and area businesses will provide a week filled with regional history, tours, art, music, outdoor adventures, wine and local foods. On Saturday at Moore Park in Westfield during the weekly farmer's market, the blessing of the grapes will take place at 11:00 am followed immediately by the official start of the Great Grape Race and the Local Food Heroes Cook-Off, a friendly competition between regional restaurants, wineries and local farmers, at 2 pm. Lasting until 8 pm, the cook-off will offer local foods hot off the grill, a wine and beer garden featuring local wines and beer, Amish goods, farming displays, an expanded Children's area, and live music featuring the Nolan Brothers of Erie PA, Stratton Band, and Backwoods Bluegrass Band. Voting will take place from 5 - 7 pm. Each weekday, the America's Grape Country festival will celebrate a different theme of the area. Monday is Kids' Day when families can visit Vinewood Acres Sugar Shack on Route 5 near Barcelona for free mini grape sundaes and sampling of dozens of homemade fruit syrups. Centaur Stride Therapeutic Horseback Riding Facility between Westfield and Sherman will feature kids' games and lessons on caring for horses on Monday evening from 3 - 8 pm. Tuesday will focus on the natural and cultural history of the region. Mark Baldwin from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute will take visitors on a Back Road Adventure to experience the tastes, sights, sounds and textures of America's Grape Country. Leaving from the Main Gate at Chautauqua Institution with transportation provided by CARTS, participants will take a 3-hour journey from Chautauqua Lake to Lake Erie, learning about the historically significant continental divide that separates the two bodies of water while tasting regional flavors along the way. At 7 pm on Tuesday, Evergreen Outfitters will host its weekly Sunset Paddle on Lake Erie leaving from Barcelona. The guided paddles are free and open to anyone who would like to join them. For those needing gear, a kayak can be arranged for a small rental fee. The wineries along the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail have set aside Wednesday to celebrate markets and local foods. Each winery will feature a special food and wine pairing from noon to 4 pm. Barlow's Mill in Fredonia will also feature a Locavore Kids celebration on Wednesday from 11 am - 3 pm with locally grown foods, farm and garden tours, and a chance to meet local growers. Thursday will bring attention to regional music and art with galleries and exhibits along the Chautauqua Art Trail. At the Portage Hill Gallery, visitors can try abstract painting with an outdoor hands-on experience using local fruits and vegetables. Samples of grape milkshakes and grape cookie bars will be offered as well as a 10% discount on any art work that has purple as part of its color. On Thursday evening live bands are scheduled to perform on the pier in Dunkirk and in the park in both Mayville and Silver Creek. Outdoor adventures will be celebrated on Friday. At Panama Rocks, visitors can explore a mile long self-guided trail amidst an enchanting world of towering rocks. Those participating in the Great Grape Race can also fulfill a race form question. Great weekend festivals cap off the 9-day celebration in America's Grape Country. The Chautauqua Bon Vivant, a weekend event at the Chautauqua Suites in Mayville promises a luxurious experience in cuisine, wine and spirits with Wine Pairing Lunch, VIP Cocktail reception, Grand Tasting and Champagne Brunch. On Saturday, Peek'n Peak Resort & Spa will hold a Bluegrass, BBQ and Brews Fest, and on Sunday, the annual Pesto Festo, a celebration of all kinds of pesto, takes place at Barlow's Mill in Fredonia. The Lake Erie Grape Region is home to America's native grapes. With 30,000 vineyard acres, this is the largest grape growing region in the United States outside of California and the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world. For a full schedule of events during Celebrate America's Grape Country Week, visit http://www.americasgrapecountry.com/.
-30-Photo Caption: Grape pies and grape juice are just a few of the regional flavors offered at Jack's Barcelona Drive-in in Jamestown. (Photo by Ed Bernik) Contact: Stephanie Burdo Communications Coordinator Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau PO Box 1441 Chautauqua, NY 14722 716-357-ILNY (4569) http://www.tourchautauqua.com/