OCEAN CITY – The 19th Annual Wine on the Beach returns this weekend, offering wine samplings along with international cuisine, arts and crafts and microbrews.
The event will be held on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, at the Inlet Parking Lot in Ocean City, with wineries from up and down the East Coast. The festival will be open Friday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
“This is our 19th year and it grows every year,” Christina Nokes of Wine on the Beach said. “Mr. Hardesty [Jerry Hardesty of Wine on the Beach] had a vision. We started it in Annapolis, and he had a vision to do it on the beach, so we ended up in Ocean City.”
According to Nokes, over 7,000 people attended last year’s event, and as of Wednesday 2,000 tickets had been pre-sold for this year’s event. There are 10,000 wineglasses and tickets available in all, and because the line to get through the gate can become quite long event organizers planned ahead and doubled the gate size this year to speed up the ticket process.
Sixteen wineries will be featured this year from Maryland, Delaware, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, including Boordy Vineyards, Far Eastern Shore Winery Knob Hall Winery, Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery, Linganore Winecellars, Solomons Island Winery, St. Michaels Winery, The Winery at Olney, Fenwick Cellars, Harvest Ridge, Hazlitt Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Forks of Cheat Winery and West Whitehill.
In addition to the vast array of wine offerings, there will be several vendors offering an array of international cuisine, several arts and craft vendors, and micro-breweries of Devils Back Bone, Fat Tire, OC Brewing and St. Michaels Ale and Third Wave with products available for purchase.
Live entertainment will begin on Friday with the Pat O’Brennan Trio taking the stage at 12:30 p.m. and popular local recording artists Bird Dog and the Road Kings taking over at 4 p.m. On Saturday, 3 Penny Opera will kick the day off at 12:30 p.m. followed by Bird Dog and the Road Kings at 4 p.m.
“It is lots of fun. We are always trying to make it bigger and better,” Nokes said. “The weather is going to be beautiful. The wine is going to be cold. It is going to be a fun time.”
Tickets for the festival are $30 at the gate. The cost includes a commemorative wine glass and sample coupons. For those who don’t drink, General Admission includes a commemorative wine glass and unlimited soft drinks from the designated driver location. It is $15 for children 13-20 that must be accompanied by a parent. Under 12 years of age enters for free.
No one under 21 years of age is admitted without a parent. For additional information call the Wine Line at 1-410-280-3306 or visit their website at www.winefest.com.