Minnesota Food and Wine Festival attendance up this year
ALEXANDRIA -- It was a stomping good time this weekend at Carlos Creek Winery.
The annual Minnesota Food and Wine Festival was hailed as a success, according to winery owner Tami Bredeson.
"The weather gods blessed us this year with some of the best grape-stomping weather in years," she said.
Bredeson noted that attendance was up about 25 percent from last year and that the new shuttle service from local hotels and the Viking Plaza Mall went over very well.
"We never had a traffic back-up this year and we had zero cars parked on County Road 34," she noted, adding that it was a big relief.
Bredeson also mentioned that this year's "I Love Lucy" grape-stomping reenactment was presented by Megan Vry and Danielle Fulfs of Sebeka.
She said that the two high school seniors are veterans to the Carlos Creek stomping barrels, returning for their third straight year of reenacting the classic grape stomping scene from the "I Love Lucy" television show.
More than 80 employees and volunteers worked this year's festival, said Bredeson, adding that this year, there were two student teams helping out during the event.
There were 10 students from the Upsala FFA, who helped pick up garbage and hauled grapes for stomping - two of the messiest jobs at the festival, said Bredeson.
In addition, there were 12 students from Alexandria Technical College's law enforcement program. The students helped direct traffic, collect admission fees and check IDs.
"The festival wouldn't be possible without the long days all these wonderful workers put in over the weekend," said Bredeson. "They are simply the best."
During the two days of grape-stomping fun, there were 212 teams competing and close to three tons of grapes crushed.
And in answer to the most-asked question during the festival, "No, we don't make wine from the grapes we use for stomping," said Bredeson.
People's choice award for best food vendor - The Cozy Gourmet, deep-fried apple pie.
People's choice award for best non-food vendor - Glenda Peacock, Alexandria.
People's choice award for best looking booth - "Bling" by Linda Freeman, Alexandria.
People's choice award for greenest vendor - B-Pop Kettle Korn, Alexandria.
People's choice for favorite band - Gregory Michael Bruce.
Owner's choice award for best food vendors - Miller Concession Cheese Curds, Doug's Kettle Korn and Cozy Gourmet.
Owner's choice award for best non-food vendors - Gringa Yard Art, Ingvoldstad Chainsaw Carving and Bending Pines Pottery.