As I pondered what I could possibly blog about this week, I happily stumbled upon the Gervasi Grape Harvest Festival.
This was their first ever harvest festival and it was designed to benefit United Way of Greater Stark County. The festival was from 12 to 6 p.m., Sept. 30.
Oh, and the best part … it was free to attend.
I couldn’t believe how immense the turn-out was for this event. There had to be more than 600 people at the event. Gervasi obviously did a great job of promoting it. I noticed that they used e-mail, have a blog to promote and have an event page on their site.
Even though it was the first event Gervasi has had like this, I was impressed with the array of activities available at the festival.
#1 – Food
They had a $10 Italian buffet where 50 percent of the proceeds went to United Way. They also had the Piazza open for attendees to order from their delicious menu.
Obviously, there was wine and other spirits available. The menu ranges from approximately $5 to $50. Depending on what you decided to eat, you could eat very inexpensively.
#2 – Vendors
All of the vendors were local businesses that included kettle corn, coffee, sweets, jewelers and artisans. A portion of what each vendor made also went toward United Way. I personally stuffed my face with a large bag of kettle corn. My mouth was happy. My thighs were not.
#3 – Music
There were four bands that played on two separate stages. Moustache Yourself, one of the bands I saw at the Kent State Folk Festival, also played at the Gervasi Grape Harvest Festival. But my absolute favorite band was The Brighter Side Band, which won the Canton Battle of the Bands last year. The coolest part? Their oldest band member is only 21!
#4 – Activities
There were so many activities available for all ages. There were crafts, face painting and relay races for the younger crowed. Also, they held corn hole and bocce tournaments where the proceeds, again, went to United Way. Those were all pretty cool, but my favorite was grape stomping. I felt like Lucille Ball in an episode of I Love Lucy. Luckily, I did not bite it like she did!
Overall, this was a fantastic festival. I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t take place again next year. Like I said at the beginning, Gervasi must have used good public relations tactics and promoted this event very well considering how many attended. I’m sure the best way to measure their success is through the amount of money raised from the event. I hope they post that somewhere soon and I’ll make sure to put it in the comment thread when I find out.
My only problem with the event is that they called it the first annual. There is no such thing as a first annual event. I would have suggested they called it the “first ever” or “inaugural” grape festival. They may have overlooked that, but it clearly did not affect the success of the event.
Congratulazioni, Gervasi! Here’s to another great harvest festival next year.
Readers, are there any other cool harvest festivals that you know of in Northeast Ohio?