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Festival of the Vine draws crowds to downtown Geneva

Published: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 8:10 a.m. CST
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(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Elizabeth Zima and Jeff Ludman enjoy their wine during Festival of the Vine in downtown Geneva Friday. The festival runs through Sunday.

GENEVA – The Festival of the Vine may celebrate wine, but it was the food at the Flavor Fare that drew Martha and Art Sanchez of Elburn to downtown Geneva on Friday afternoon.

Empty plates sat before them under the dining tent after they had toured the Flavor Fare on North Fourth Street. Martha Sanchez tried the filet minisandwiches from the Geneva Ale House, while Art Sanchez tried the pot roast sandwich from Egg Harbor Cafe. Missing, however, was any sign of wine.

“Food’s first for us,” Martha Sanchez said.

This year, 22 restaurants are featured in the Flavor Fare, said Laura Rush, communications manager for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. She said many are returning restaurants, and some decided to change up their menus this year. Vendors offered 17 to 20 types of wines at varying price points, she added.

The festival, which is presented by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, runs through Sunday and features live entertainment, an arts and crafts show, demonstrations and, of course, food and wine. Rush said half of the bands playing during the festival are new this year, as is the Geneva Garden Center display by Geneva Ace Hardware on the courthouse lawn. Local sponsors helped supply complimentary horse carriage rides, and a trolley is set to take festivalgoers from stop to stop today and Sunday.

The annual arts and crafts show will wrap around the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in Geneva from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Rush said 75 crafters from three states are slated to set up booths this year.

Complimentary face painting, balloon art and sand art also will be offered near the courthouse today.

“It’s a very busy festival for only three days,” Rush said.

Although it’s busy, Rush said it has a laid-back feel and festivalgoers always seem to be in good spirits.

“Everyone is happy. They just have a smile on their face,” she said. “Every festival we do has a different feel.”

Friday was the first time Carol Hajek of Oak Brook had been to the Festival of the Vine, and she tagged along with her friend, Dee Walsh of Wheaton, who said last year was the first time she attended. They had just finished eating filet minisandwiches from the Geneva Ale House, but they saved some room for a piece of Morano’s Pizza.

“That’s what we’re saving our last tickets for,” Walsh said.

Judith Schiappacasse of Gilberts said she’s been to the festival for the past 12 years. Her tour of the Flavor Fare included a shrimp avocado tostada with chips and salsa from Sergio’s Cantina, and she tried a glass of Rex Goliath pinot grigio – described as having a “bright, and racy acidity, beautifully balanced with fresh citrus, leading to a crisp, refreshing finish,” according to festival literature.

“I like to go out and relax and shop around,” she said. “I always come back and taste different samples. The people are friendly, and it’s a really nice town.”

If you go

The Festival of the Vine continues today and Sunday in downtown Geneva with demonstrations, live entertainment, the Flavor Fare and more. For a full schedule of events, visit www.genevachamber.com/festivalofthevine.html.

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