Browsing articles in "wine festivals"
Aug 15, 2014
Terri Judson

Stars of LA return to fourth annual food and wine fest

The fourth annual Los Angeles Food Wine Festival presented by FOOD WINE takes place August 21-24, and in just a few years the festival has become the City of Angels’ premiere culinary gathering. More than 100 of the country’s most decorated chefs, sommeliers and mixologists will participate at events in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Santa Monica, with the majority of happenings taking place in the region’s most dynamic dining neighborhood: Downtown LA.

“The very footprint on Grand Avenue that hosts the festival each year is an exciting testament to what’s happening in Los Angeles,” explains David Bernahl, CEO of event organizer Coastal Luxury Management. “This year’s festival has expanded to take on another block; the construction of the highly anticipated Broad Museum will tower over the thousands of foodies we will welcome to the festival. The food scene around the city is exploding at the same pace. It’s special to be able to celebrate LA’s culinary scene in such a dramatic way.”

New to this year’s festival is the Ultimate Bites of LA presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred®. Hosted by Graham Elliot and Fabio Viviani, the event will see some of LA’s most popular chefs pack Grand Avenue, dishing out inventive bites while providing “the most comprehensive way to taste the best LA has to offer,” according to Bernahl. Similar walk-around events such as Lexus Live on Grand and a pair of Lexus Grand Tastings will see hungry hordes of festivalgoers descend on Downtown LA to sample top-notch wines alongside bites from a kaleidoscope of culinary titans.

A highlight of every LAFW is the Tribute to a Legend; this year’s event will honor the local icon Nancy Silverton. Decadent types will make a beeline to the rooftop of the L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel for the I Heart Champagne and Caviar bash, while this year’s Dinner with the Michelin Stars will honor one of France’s biggest culinary names, Pierre Gagnaire.

This being an entertainment capital of the world ensures that the big names on hand won’t just be limited to the food world; Fergie of Black Eyed Peas (showcasing her namesake Ferguson Crest wines at the Lexus Grand Tasting) is just one of the stars who will be on hand throughout the weekend.

“The whole weekend experience is as important to us as the food, and that includes the cocktails, wine and music,” explains Bernahl. “It’s essential that we deliver more than guests could ever expect, like once-in-a-lifetime tribute dinners, extraordinary music performances and so much more.”

RELATED: The complete culinary guide to LA
SEE MORE: The rest of summer’s food (and drink) festivals

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Aug 14, 2014
Terri Judson

Four Seasons launches food-and-wine festival program

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Aug 13, 2014
Terri Judson

Collio wine country: Italy’s undiscovered region

If any area within Italy can be described as “picture-perfect,” the bucolic wine country of Collio with its rolling hills and vibrant mosaic of emerald green-hued vineyards is a destination worthy of that artistic depiction.

Located about an hour-and-a-half drive from Venice, in the Province of Gorizia, Collio is a crossroads of cultures, sharing a border with Slovenia and close to Austria. Situated in the northeastern-most part of Italy — between the Alps and the Adriatic sea — this region is a bit off the beaten tourist path and still considered ‘undiscovered,’ yet offers an ambiance of familiarity, warmth and naturally, plenty of wine.

The area specializes in crisp white wines, along with some reds as well. Collio’s indigenous grapes are malvasia, ribolla gialla, pinot bianco and friulano, which is one of the most famous varietals in the community (formerly referred to as ‘Tocai’). Another local grape, picolit, is considered rare, emitting a smooth, mellow and complex flavor. The region’s most distinctive offering, “Collio Bianco,” is a blended white that is made at over 100 wineries – and synonymous with the territory.

In addition to vineyards and vintages, this picturesque region is steeped in history and the landscape is dotted with castles and farms, as well as an array of taverns, wine shops and restaurants. Collio’s residents are friendly, and many of the wineries offer lodging, ranging from basic rooms to luxuriously appointed accommodations. Most are passionate about agritourism and provide a homemade breakfast or other meal options and feature stunning vineyard vistas from patios and balconies.

For transportation around Collio, travelers can hire a local driver, or choose to rent sunflower yellow bicycles or Vespa scooters to zip through the towns and explore the undulating rural hillside, stopping at wineries along the way. The region also has a number of picnic tables situated at various scenic points on the main roadways, inviting guests to take a break, have a snack or just relax and soak in the views.

“This area of Italy is very nuanced, as many cultures are in close proximity and are blended together,” says Elda Felluga, president of the Association of Wine Tourism in Friuli Venezia Giulia and owner of winery Livio Fellugia. “I believe that because we have the influence of diverse traditions and rich history, our wines and culinary offerings are especially wonderful.”

This year, the Collio Wine Consortium is celebrating 50 years of the region’s distinctive wine culture. Robert Princic, Consortium president, explains, “The Collio region is a territory with great traditions and many important historical influences. Our producers are truly unique because they are genuinely motivated by their passion for the land, and for making the highest quality wines possible. Their dedication and innovations have permitted grape harvesting in Collio to continue its successful growth.”

The region’s “Wine and Cherry road” leads travelers past the area’s many wineries, each with its own distinctive character and unique wine offerings. Most offer vineyard and cellar tours, with tasting rooms open to the public, although some require advance reservations, depending on the day and the season.

Here are several we recommend:

Villa Russiz

With nearly 100 acres of vineyards, Villa Russiz’s history dates back to 1868, when the land was given as a wedding gift to French count Theodore de La Tour and his wife Elvine Ritter von Zahony. Today, this award-winning winery specializes in several wines, including: pinot bianco, pinot grigio and picolit. Visitors fortunate enough to meet general manager Giordano Figheli will be greeted graciously and treated to an exceptional and memorable tasting experience. In addition to winemaking, Villa Russiz is dedicated to the community and has been supporting a children’s home (Fondazione Villa Russiz) through its charitable contributions for many years.

Livio Felluga

Renowned throughout the Italian wine community as the man who reinvented the area’s winemaking heritage in the 1950s, Livio Felluga’s vineyard today stretches over 400 acres amidst the sloping hills. Some of the wines include: illivio, friulano, terre alte and more. In addition to a contemporary, chic tasting room, the family has an affiliated tavern and inn a few steps away, called Terra Vini, with a rustic interior and a lovely outdoor garden terrace. The small hotel has eight charming guest rooms with modern amenities and private balconies. The restaurant is the real deal – offering fresh, regional specialties daily with locally sourced cheeses, prosciutto and produce.


Family-owned Livon has grown tremendously over the years, expanding throughout Italy and opening wineries in Tuscany and Umbria. Livon uses the latest technology in the winemaking process, incorporating natural and innovative vineyard management methods. Their winery features a tasting room where guests can sip a robust array of white and red wines, such as: pinot bianco, fenis (ribolla gialla), merlot and others. Nearby, the Livon family owns Villa Chiòpris, a winery with an adjacent upscale bed and breakfast situated on a picturesque vineyard. It houses nine stylishly designed rooms with and a swimming pool. This winery often hosts special events and wine tastings.


A well-respected winery with a tasting room and a trattoria featuring homemade traditional local cuisine, Tiare invites guests to enjoy a leisurely meal in the countryside while tasting a selection of their top quality vintages. In fact, Tiare’s unoaked 2013 Sauvignon blanc was awarded a gold medal at the 5th edition of the World Sauvignon contest, held in Bordeaux, France. Chosen from nearly 500 wines from 21 countries, this was highest honor ever given to an Italian wine at this major international event.


Known throughout the area as “the Greek winery,” Paraschos was founded in 1998 by the winemaker Evangelos Paraschos. Today, this popular, family-run vineyard produces a variety of local wines through traditional and organic methods, harvested by hand without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Perched at the highest point in the region, Paraschos offers six spacious guest rooms with mesmerizing views overlooking the tranquil, sprawling vineyards. Guests lucky enough to stay at Paraschos are greeted in the morning with a delightful, abundant homemade breakfast – a delicious way to begin a day of Collio wine tasting.

When to go: The Collio region hosts a number of wine festivals and celebrations throughout the year, such as the upcoming Spirito di Vino event, set for September 13, 2014.

SEE MORE: Explore Italy’s Prosecco province

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Aug 13, 2014
Terri Judson

Las Vegas Is America’s Food & Wine Festival Capital

Las Vegas has a golden rule that has shaped its destiny: if something is good, than more of something is better. First it was conventions. Then it was luxury shopping. Next came celebrity chef restaurants. Now it is food and wine festivals and Sin City can’t add them fast enough. Currently there are half a dozen such events scheduled – in the next month.

In the past decade interest in culinary and gourmet topics has boomed among Americans, and there has been a great expansion in the number of food, wine and beer related festivals nationwide, but for the most part, particular destinations tend to focus on one. Even big tourism cities like New York, LA, Miami and New Orleans hang their hat on one main annual festival, and in terms of prestige, two of the three biggest aren’t even in major cities – those would be Aspen and Pebble Beach.

Vegas, on the other hand, has embraced food events big and small, niche and mainstream, even as it hosts arguably the single best such event in the country, Bon Appetit Uncork’d. I’ve written in this column before about this marquee fest, which fetes the travelling public, rather than industry insiders like other top festivals do. Spanning several major casino resorts and held over Mother’s Day weekend in May, it gets by far the best cast of star chefs, because Vegas has the most star chefs with actual restaurants here, unlike other festivals that have to attract talent to locations where they have no vested interest.

Burgers in Las Vgeas

Throughout the year you can usually find some sort of food, wine or beer festival in Las Vegas serving up delicious eats. Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau

You can read much more about what makes Uncork’d so good by clicking here, but it is hardly the end of the dining and drinking festivities in Las Vegas. There are more than a dozen others, year round, spanning every sort of cuisine and style, and several also offer A-list live music performances, something most other food fests lack. For instance, one notable offering is the oddly named Rock ‘n Roll Wine Amplified Weekend (October 10- 11). Now in its ninth year, this popular event has grown big enough where MGM Resorts, its host, had to move it to a bigger venue, the outdoor MGM Resorts Village near the Luxor. The two-day festival combines big name national bands with a wine-centric theme featuring more than 60 wineries and 150 wines, plus craft beers, a “hidden speakeasy,” barrel tastings, grape stomping, cocktail lounge and food truck area with. The Friday and Saturday night headliners are Train and Blink 182 respectively, plus performances by Violent Femmes, Michael Franti Spearhead, Better than Ezra, The Mowgli’s and Mystic Roots, among others. Ticket options range from one day general admission ($69) to a 2-day VIP pass ($299).

Pool party at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Pool Party, Vegas style, at Bon Appetit Uncork’d, the nation’s premier food festival, held each May. Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau

On September 27, the same outdoor venue will host the one day Boulevard Brew Fest with Grammy Award-winning band Kings of Leon and other live performances, while the Oregon Brewers Festival has teamed with MGM Resorts to feature beers from more than 50 Oregon breweries, plus local selections from Las Vegas-based craft breweries, along with, yes, food trucks.

The city’s oldest such event is UNLVino, now in its 40th year. University of Nevada Las Vegas is home to a topflight School of Hotel Administration, the host, and the four day gala is held in April. This year’s marquee events included an open food and wine sampling at Wolfgang Puck’s signature Spago, a poolside gourmet BBQ bash at Caesar’s, a champagne night under the stars at the Venetian, and a grand tasting.

Las Vegas beer festival

Beer Fest, Las Vegas style. Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau

The World Food Championships, November 12-18, is an event seemingly custom made for Las Vegas: the finals of a yearlong string of regional “everyman” cooking competitions which culminate here. As the marketing collateral describes, “Tens of thousands of consumers will compete in a year-long trial to qualify for the World Food Championships. The World Food Championships takes over where Food Network leaves off – in the kitchen and backyard of every American home. Not fake made for TV stars – but everyday real consumers who simply believe they can.” The live event draws 25,000 spectators daily, and like a big Vegas poker tournament, winnows down round after round of competitors to final tables in each of nine categories: Barbecue, Chili, Sandwich, Burger, Dessert, Bacon, Pasta, Seafood and Recipe, which features an annually changing ingredient – this year it’s cheese. I especially love that Bacon is an entire category, unlike, say, chicken.

Las Vegas Foodie Fest is a unique event that brings together about 40 top rated food trucks (Vegas loves food trucks at festivals) from all across the country, sort of a reverse logic where both food trucks and food truck patrons can make long trips to eat fare far from its native curbside, every April. Bite of Las Vegas, put on by local radios station 94.1FM, is a one day, all day festival held in public Desert Breeze Park with an impressive list of live performers including Daughtry and Colbie Caillat, especially considering tickets start at just $25. The food side, however, is lackluster, with service from mostly chain and fast food restaurants (September 27).

Food event on Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Food festivals are held all over Las Vegas, from The Strip to Downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, shown here. Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau

The Las Vegas Wine Food Festival, despite its grandiose name, is limited to the off-Strip Red Rock Casino, and held September 5-6. Attracting a more local crowd it nonetheless rolls out a very impressive list of some of Las Vegas’ top chefs and restaurants, and with tickets form $75-$100 each day, is a relative bargain. Participating eateries include Mastro’s, Aureole (Charlie Palmer) Roy’s (Yamaguchi), Todd English PUB, BLT Burger, Scarpetta (Scott Conant), Smith Wollensky, The Palm, STK and many more.

Held next week, August 22-28, Las Vegas Restaurant Week sees top eateries throughout the city, such as Andrea’s, Culinary Dropout, RM Seafood, Comme Ca, and Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse offering prix fixe meals for $20.14-$50.14 with a gala kick off at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Other events include Epicurean Affair, the annual fest hosted by the Nevada Restaurant Association in May, which was at the Palazzo this year; the 4-day Las Vegas Greek Food Festival, September 25-28; the Downtown Brew Festival at the Clark County Amphitheatre, September 20, with unlimited samples of 150 beers, food from local restaurants, and yes, food trucks; and Festivino, a one night pairing of old and new world wines paired with dishes from the chefs at joined at the hip Italian-themed resorts, The Venetian and The Palazzo, on September 26.


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Aug 12, 2014
Terri Judson

A mixologist and a chef hit their stride at Hilltop Kitchen



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On a warm July afternoon at 3 p.m., mixologist Chris Keil was prepping the bar for the evening and making a couple of drinks for early-bird patrons at the neighborhood bar/restaurant at 913 Martin Luther King Way in Tacoma, Wash. As he worked, he talked about how Hilltop Kitchen became the realized dream of him and co-owner/chef Matthew Schweitzer. The partners wanted to create a “food-driven bar that was wildly diverse,” where Keil could finesse his “craft” cocktails and Schweitzer could practice some modern techniques in the kitchen with “sustainable, local foods” and include vegetarian options that were actually interesting and flavorful.

While I sat at the bar, I ordered the seared scallops with a whipped gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, olive oil, saffron and mango.


article: Tasting Tacoma: Seattle’s charming older sister to the south

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    Then Schweitzer stopped by to explain how he made the tasty gazpacho. First he blends the purée, passes it through a strainer, then heats it and adds xanthan gum to thicken it. He then chills it and passes it through a strainer, then shoots it through a carbonator. Sounds complicated, but the flavors meld together amazingly well. He learned some of his techniques working with fine chefs at food and wine festivals in Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Vail, Colo.

    The bar is uniquely built around agave, with a strong focus on mezcal and tequila. “It is one of the best mezcal selections in the country — probably one of the top three or four,” said Keil, who is drawn to what he calls “artisanal” spirits with interesting agricultural histories. He is attracted to the nuances of the widely varied mezcals made by Mexican farmers who get very creative in the distillation of the spirits, such as infusing the smoky spirit with berries and quail or smoking rabbit or pig over their batches. “Everyone has his own recipe,” he said.

    Although he is inspired by mezcal, he creates a wide array of cocktails, which have attracted local and national attention. I ordered the very refreshing and pretty “Lost Steps” cocktail made with cachaca, lime juice, basil simple syrup, ginger beer and a cucumber garnish. The recipe follows.

    Keil and Schweitzer have found their own recipe for success in what some would have considered an unlikely spot. Their gamble appears to have paid off, for them and for their many loyal regulars.


    This summer cocktail created by Chris Keil of Hilltop Kitchen is mixed with Keil’s house-made ginger beer. In lieu of that, he recommends buying a high-quality ginger beer, such as “a Jamaican — with no high-fructose corn syrup.” Cachaca, pronounced ka-SHAH-sah, is a distilled liquor made from sugarcane juice and used to make Brazil’s national drink, the caipirinha.

    1-1/2 ounces cachaca

    1/2 ounce lime juice

    1/2 ounce basil simple syrup (recipe follows)

    Ginger beer

    Sliced cucumber garnish

    Mix cachaca, lime juice, simple syrup and ginger beer in short bucket glass. Top with ice and serve with a thinly sliced cucumber garnish. Slice the cucumber lengthwise with a mandolin, roll and, for a pretty presentation, roll the cucumber strip and hold the roll together with a cocktail stick.

    For basil simple syrup:

    Chris Keil’s recipe for basil simple syrup comes from “The Bar Book” by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. This is an adapted variation.

    1/2 cup granulated sugar

    1/2 cup water

    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Put sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir and heat until it boils; sugar will dissolve, and the syrup will be clear. Add basil leaves, stir to submerge, then turn heat off. Allow leaves to steep until liquid cools. Strain leaves from the syrup using a mesh strainer. Store the syrup in a labeled jar in the refrigerator for as long as a month.

    Makes: about 3/4 cup

    © 2014 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Tuesday, August 12, 2014 1:00 pm.


    Chris Keil,

    Matthew Schweitzer,

    Lake Tahoe,




    Food-driven Bar,

    Bar Book,


    Lost Steps,

    Basil Simple Syrup

    FACT CHECK See inaccurate information in this story? Tell us here.

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    Aug 12, 2014
    Terri Judson

    Summer food festivals

    Soak up some food and wine under the sun this summer at one of the many festivals held all around the world. Look through the gallery to get a peek at what’s been happening on the festival scene so far this season and what’s still to come.

    Here’s where you’ll find food and wine lovers gathering each summer:

    Miami Spice Restaurant Program, August 1-September 30

    Safeway Barbecue Battle, Washington, D.C., June 21-22

    Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, August 24

    Asia-Pacific Food and Wine Festival, Hong Kong, June 13-16

    Big Feastival, Oxfordshire, U.K., August 29-31

    Copenhagen Cooking, August 22-31

    Eat Drink SF, August 1-3

    French Market Creole Tomato Festival, New Orleans, June 7-8

    International Mango Festival, Miami, July 12-13

    LA Taco Festival, August 16

    LA Wine Fest (CRUSH), May 31-June 1

    Lan Kwai Fong Beer Music Festival, Hong Kong, July 19-20

    London Foodies Festival – “FEAST”, August 15 – 17

    Los Angeles Food Wine Festival, August 21-24

    Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, August 11-17

    San Francisco Street Food Festival, August 16

    Satchmo SummerFest, New Orleans, July 31 – August 3

    Sin City Beer Festival, May 17

    Taste of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., September 13

    The Taste, Los Angeles, August 29-31

    Truck Stop, London, First Thursday and Friday of July, August and September

    SEE MORE: Plan ahead for fall’s biggest festivals

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    Aug 12, 2014
    Terri Judson

    Sample the fare at beer, wine festivals

    From August through November, Houston turns into a hotspot for gatherings that focus on music serenading festival-goers through bite after bite and sip after sip of the area’s offerings of beverages.

    Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival

    Aug. 29-31, Moody Gardens, Galveston. Two signature events include BrewLicious Brews and Foods Pairing, and BrewHaHa Grand Tasting, plus more events that match food and brews. Visit

    Untapped: Indie Music and Beer

    Saturday, Sept. 20, Discovery Green, 3:30-10 p.m. Come have a choice of more than 200 beers from more than 65 breweries, while enjoying live music and goods from local vendors. Visit

    Katy Sip ‘n’ Stroll

    Saturday, Sept. 20, Villagio Town Center, Katy, 5-8 p.m. The Katy Sip ‘n’ Stroll at Villagio Town Center provides live music, local wine, craft beer, food from nearby restaurants and a vendor village for shopping. Visit

    Houston Wine Fest

    Sunday, Sept. 28, Houston Wine Fest brings international and local wineries together in Hermann Square Park each year, inviting guests to gather and sip fine wines produced by master winemakers. Visit

    Big Brew

    Monday through Sunday, Oct. 20-26, George R. Brown Convention Center. The nation’s second-largest craft beer festival brings a slew of world-famous chefs to concoct dishes to pair them with. The main events will begin Thursday and run through the weekend, and will include beer pairings, pub crawls, tasting sessions and more. Visit

    Houston Margarita Festival

    Saturday, Oct. 25, Discovery Green Park, noon-10 p.m.

    Margarita lovers will enjoy different drink variations in a fun festival atmosphere in the heart of city. The outdoor event will feature local Top 40, salsa, blues and RB performers, as well as a salsa dance and limbo competition. Visit

    BeerFeast Sugar Land

    Saturday, Nov. 1, Sugar Land Town Square, 1-7 p.m. At the third annual event, guests can try more than 60 craft beers from more than 40 breweries, including a variety of rare brews. Restaurant chefs from nearby establishments will create the day’s menu to complement festival beers. For information, call 281-242-7468 or visit

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    Aug 11, 2014
    Terri Judson

    USA Today Readers Choose Okanagan Valley as Top Wine Region

    Gray Monk Winery

    The widest newspaper in circulation in the United States, USA Today describes the Okanagan as, “Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.”

    The Okanagan Valley has been voted the second best wine region to visit amongst 20 worldwide nominees by the USA Today Readers’ Choice 2014 Awards. The publication states, “British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley came in at a strong #2, its loyal fans reminding voters of the area’s lush landscape of mountains and rivers.  The Okanagan offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation in between tastings.”

    “To not only have the Okanagan Valley recognized among the finest wine regions globally but to finish in second spot by readers of a major international newspaper is a tremendous honour,” says Ellen Walker-Matthews, Marketing Chair for the Okanagan Wine Festivals. “This will continue to build the incredible momentum we have seen in our wine region over the past several years. Our thanks to all of those that took the time to recognize the Okanagan Valley and invite those that have not yet experienced this area to come and be our guests. This type of recognition inspires travel to the Okanagan Valley as a premier wine tourism destination.”

    Voting was conducted in an online poll for approximately one month with the winners announced this morning.  The full list of winners in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for ‘Best Wine Region to Visit’ is as follows:

    •     Alentejo, Portugal
    •     Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
    •     Maipo, Chile
    •     Marlborough, New Zealand
    •     Croatia
    •     Napa Valley, Calif.
    •     Tuscany, Italy
    •     Oregon
    •     Hunter Valley, Australia
    •     Virginia

    More details are at:

    Photo: Vista of Gray Monk Winery.


    Related posts:

    church-and-state-wineThe Quintessential red wine: Okanagan Meritage Captures International Gold Medal

    t-governor-bc-wine-awardsLieutenant Governor presents wine awards

    best-wine-bar-local-lounge-summerlandLet’s Sip: Best Wine Bars in the Okanagan

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    Aug 11, 2014
    Terri Judson

    Chicago Street Festivals – A big deal (and effort) for small businesses

    One of the greatest things about Chicago summers are the street festivals.  A chance to get out and walk some of the great neighborhoods in the city.  Kids, dogs, drinks, food and well drunks!

    Monica Zanetti Art

    This weekend, my wife and I moved from Fest goer to Fest vendor!  My wife, Monica Zanetti, in my opinion is a brilliant artist and has found quite a niche here in Chicago.  But enough with the soulless plug!

    Instead of waking up at a reasonable hour and enjoying the walk, we traded it in for an early start, hard work, sweat and a little blood to show for it.  It was a first for both of us.  Monica had done some stuff out West (California) but this was going to be a step up from low key Art and Wine festivals.  This was Retro on Roscoe, one of the biggest festivals of the summer!  Roscoe Village Neighbors put on the annual event and is one of the only 100% volunteer run events in the city!

    I have worked in retail, so i know what it feels like to have the business doors open wide to anyone that decides to walk in.  It can be an adventure.  I mean I once had a gentlemen come into my store in full Batman gear.  It was summer. WOW!

    So we were ready for the unexpected.  Especially since Beer and Wine were sold every 50 feet!  We were not ready for the two 12 hours days. Our dogs were barking!

    What I took away first and foremost,  was the passion and work the vendors put in.  As I write this on Monday morning my feet, back and every other part of me are aching.  As we sat on the street packing up the booth last night at 11pm, a Sunday night mind you, I was impressed by the bonds we had formed in just 48 hours.  We hugged and made plans for future get together after just meeting the day before!

    The booth next door was a lovely woman (MCG Jewelry) and her boyfriend.  It was their first fest too and they were so generous with us.  They were selling her incredible jewelery that was all handmade by her and her sister.  We joked that Fest goers were lining up to pet their incredible dog (Elvis) and should be charged for the pleasure!  On our other side was a chiropractor offering free massages and assessments.  They were hustling most of the day, vibrating people young and old.  But the real show was, the booth across the way.  Victory Training was asking for volunteers to take part in a “Squat Challenge!”  Folks were to squat down on a medicine ball and do so as many times as possible in a minute.  People of all shapes, sizes and dress took part.  It was entertaining to say the least.  I mean some gals apparently forgot they were wearing skirts…OOPS!  Did I mention they served beer and wine?

    The best part of the experience? It is an easy question to answer.  It was the people.  The many friends we had support and visit us was overwhelming and made us feel great!  But I think I loved meeting the new folks the best!  We made several connections with local business owners set up several opportunities to collaborate.   While email and electronic marketing is currently in vogue, it was the face to face time that solidified and really made the difference.  So while the cash register never rings as much as we’d like, it’s important to see beyond the day’s receipts.  It’s about the journey!  It’s about the new contacts and the future business opportunities.  It takes a lot of guts to put out your talents on a public landscape.  It takes even more to do it on a street, under a tent and welcome anyone who wanders in!

    Retro on Roscoe

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    Aug 10, 2014
    Terri Judson

    Photo: Contributed – Government of BC

    Okanagan monitoring mussels

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    A Central Okanagan boat launch is part of a valley-wide network of monitoring stations for invasive mussels. 

    The monitor device is installed in Okanagan Lake at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park boat launch that is maintained by the Regional District. 

    The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) installed the monitoring station and checks it monthly through the fall, along with taking a plankton tow sample of the water for any signs of Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

    The monitoring station is made of a rope with a weight at one end and a series of small sections of PVC pipe and mesh. If the invasive mollusk species (which ranges in size from a grain of sand to thumbnail size) is present, it will attach to this artificial, solid surface. 

    The monitor is intended to act as a warning device as this would be a likely location that any mussels would show up, being transported on or in boats and trailers.

    The Society and the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan WaterWise program are encouraging all owners of personal watercraft and boats to ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ and check their vessels for signs of the invasive mussels, especially if they have been out of the province.  

    By adopting the ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’ protocol residents and visiting boat owners can help protect BC lakes from these species, which have caused havoc and created a major economic cost in other jurisdictions because they rapidly colonize on hard surfaces, impacting tourism, recreation and infrastructure.

    To learn more about OASISS visit 

    For information on the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ initiative and how you can help, visit

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