A crowd of people filled the parking deck below Main Street in North Wilkesboro Saturday afternoon for the 10th annual Shine to Wine Fest.
Festival attendees had the opportunity to sample wine, spirits and beer from producers across the state, and to spend an afternoon socializing.
Some 4,500 attended the event, which lasted from noon to 6 p.m., according to Crystal Keener, tourism director for the Town of North Wilkesboro. It appeared to be one of the largest crowds in the history of the festival.
Shine to Wine was again sponsored by the Downtown North Wilkesboro Partnership. Town employees and volunteers again staffed the event, which saw people still coming through the gates as late as 5 p.m.
A large number of people came from Wilkes County and the surrounding area, but a great many folks made the trip down the mountain from Boone, Ms. Keener said.
She noted that people came all the way from Wilmington for the festival and that there was one couple on hand from Alabama. They heard about Shine to Wine while visiting Blowing Rock and decided to give it a try.
People also came in from Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Statesville, Ms. Keener said.
The festival gave local brewers, distillers, and producers a chance to display and publicize their craft, she said.
Breweries at the festival included Howard Brewing from Lenoir, Skull Camp Brewing from Elkin, along with various N.C. craft beers. This was all available in a beer garden located under a large tent in the middle of the parking deck. The tent was pretty much full throughout, providing attendees some relief from the late summer sun.
Participating vineyards were Thistle Meadow of Laurel Springs, Lake James Cellars of Glen Alpine, Native Vines of Lexington, Herrera Vineyards of Dobson and Round Peak Vineyards of Mount Airy.
The Call Family Distillers and the Moonshine Capitol of America Museum, both located in North Wilkesboro, displayed their wares.
Top of the Hill of Chapel Hill, Blue Ridge Distilling Company of Bostic, Brothers Vilgalys Spirit of Durham and Carolina Distillery of Lenoir provided tastings of their various liquors.
The purchase of a ticket allowed attendees to sample wines, craft beer from area breweries and stronger spirits offered from the distilleries.
Ms. Keener explained that presentations from breweries and distilleries “helped supplement not having as many wineries at the festival.” This is harvest time for most vineyards and owners are focusing on that right now, as opposed to presenting at wine tasting events.
Beyond that, it gave a chance to spotlight brewing and distilling, which are “burgeoning industries in North Carolina,” she explained.
Local restaurants also provided food throughout the event and venders were on hand to display and sell arts and crafts.
During the previous nine years, Shine to Wine has been held on 10th Street in North Wilkesboro. Ms. Keener said she was somewhat concerned about switching the location to the parking deck, but that the move worked very well. It gave the Downtown partnership an opportunity to “highlight the (parking deck) venue.”
The Graybyrds, a classic southern rock band, played from 12 to 1:30 p.m., followed by the Mark Roberts Band, a beach and pop group that provided dance music from 2 to 6 p.m.
Ms. Keener noted that all proceeds from Shine to Wine are used to put on other North Wilkesboro events, such as the annual Light Up Downtown, a popular event that kicks off the Christmas season. The money is also used to purchase advertising throughout the year to promote all that the town and its merchants have to offer.