Apologies on being behind on my blog lately. I had a great run (or lack of run, actually) when I sprained my ankle. All I had to do was lay on my couch and catch up on my blog which was awesome. Then, I recovered and realized all the things I totally forgot about or couldn’t do because of my ankle and I got behind again and I didn’t get the opportunity to talk about the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival on June 27th and 28th in Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George.
I didn’t know whether I wanted to focus a whole post on the event itself or mention it casually as I use the many, many products I bought at that event. (For a full list of participating vendors, check out my previous post) I decided to do a little of both. Overall, I had a great time. I love festivals like this that give people a chance to go to one place and try a ton of local products. The ticket prices were incredibly reasonable ($20 advanced/ $25 at the gate/ $10 for designated driver) and on Saturday, the weather was perfect. According to Adirondack Festivals LLC who put on the event, there were 2500 people over the course of two days. Given the not-so-great weather on Sunday and the fact that this is the first year, that’s awesome!
I loved the option of the Purchase Drop-Off tent, especially for a wine event, those bottles get heavy fast! Also, I didn’t realize what a great culinary program that SUNY Adirondack has. They were named as the designated beneficiary of the festival and I really enjoyed their tent. I learned how to make sausage during their cooking demonstrations with a KitchenAid mixer and it was incredibly flavorful. They had such great deals on some of the most delicious cookies and brownies I’ve ever tasted. I’d buy that quality in a bakery. I loved how spacious the event was overall, I never once felt like it was crowded or I didn’t have my proper space. There was room to walk around, mingle and enjoy my wine.
My biggest issue with the event was the speed at each booth. I’ve been to a few wine festivals and this was unlike anything I’ve seen. Normally at these events, people come up to the table at their own pace and taste a bunch of wines and there’s more of a crowd at each station. That way, when a couple of people are tasting their wines, the person there can then accommodate others and more people are served at once but at this event everyone stood in lines. The person serving the wines would only accommodate those standing right in front of them and it caused long lines at each station. It led to wait times of 10-15 minutes at some. Also, I felt as if while I was up there, I could only choose one or maybe two wines since I knew the long line of people behind me. Some wineries I didn’t even get a chance to try because of the lines. I don’t know necessarily how to fix that except for maybe making it clear to each vendor that they should be serving more than one group at a time.
The other issue I had was access to food. There were the cooking demonstrations which were delicious and two food trucks but I think they have the ability to have many more food options, especially with all the alcohol available. The lines at the food trucks were way too long and we ended up just eating cookies or probably trying way too many samples. I wouldn’t have minded more drink options that weren’t alcohol as well. A friend who came in as a designated driver eventually found root beer but it would’ve been good to have free or discounted beverages available to them.
This being the first year though, only gives me hope for next year’s event. As most inaugural events go, this was more of the soft opening for next year’s grand opening. Many vendors didn’t know how many people to expect and therefore ran out of product which only hurts their future business. The construction on the space will also be completed next year so there will be easier access to bathrooms. I loved this and I had a great time and ended up with a ton of bottles (thanks to Exit 9 for their cloth wine bag or that would’ve been impossible). I can’t wait to see how they step up their game for next year’s event because I wouldn’t miss it. If you missed it this year, keep an eye out because they’ll be bigger and even better next year.