Lillooet’s Third Annual Wine and Beer Festival will be “bigger and better than ever,” says Heleen Pannekoek, co-owner of Fort Berens Estate Winery.
This year’s celebration will feature wine and beer tasting; vineyard tours, beer-making salmon-drying and bannock-making demonstrations; and Percheron horse and buggy rides.
The beer-making demonstration will start with hop flowers and end five hours later with beer created on-site.
The festival is set to go this Saturday, Sept. 15 at Fort Berens on Highway 99 North. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 12:30. Chief Saul Terry from Xwisten (Bridge River Band) will speak at the opening.
People attending the festival can also enjoy BBQ venison, chicken kebabs and samplings of 12 varieties of organic cheese. Chef Jeff Alexander from Whistler’s Rim Rock Café will be demonstrating his expertise at the grill.
The celebration includes live music performed by Dee Long & Atomic Tracktor at 1 p.m., Desert Express at 3 p.m. and Len Fardella at 4:30 p.m.
Instead of a farmers’ market, organizer Georgia Colton said this year’s festival highlights an arts and crafts market.
Fiddler Coral Nast will entertain festival-goers at the crafts market, which will feature a craftsperson who turns wooden bowls, a carver who creates fine pens out of wood and stone, a quilter, a weaver, photographers, graphic artists, a furniture maker, painters, jewellery makers and beaders.
Colton said the artisans are local.
Additionally, the Lillooet Music Society will be on hand selling season tickets for its concert series, the Lillooet Public Library will have a display, the Naturalist Society will have a booth and its Lillooet Hiking Guide will be on sale and Kim North will provide information on local flora and fauna.
The popular hay bale fort for kids returns to this year’s event, as does the children’s face-painting booth.
Colton said bales of hay will also be used as the backing for a plywood graffiti wall where youngsters and the young-at-heart can paint to their heart’s content.
For festival-goers’ convenience, a shuttle bus will be running every hour between Fort Berens and the west side of the Fraser.
Out-of-town visitors will receive a 10 per cent discount on their room rates at the 4 Pines Motel and Restasket Lodge and RV Park if they mention the Wine and Beer Festival when they book their rooms.
For anyone who indulges in too much beer and wine, Colton says people with trailers can stay overnight Friday and Saturday in the north field at Fort Berens. People with tents are welcome to pitch their tents in a bear-free enclosure, with an outhouse, if they intend to tent overnight.
The festival winds up at 6 Saturday evening.