OCEAN CITY – An expanded festival footprint and the return of several wine and craft vendors highlights this weekend’s 26th Annual Wine on the Beach.
While the event was postponed last year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Wine on the Beach 2021 is set to return to the Ocean City Inlet Sept. 10-11.
For decades, the special event has been held on the last weekend in September. This year, however, organizers have moved the festival to an earlier date in the month.
“Our vendors and guests have asked us for dates when weather would be warmer, more activities available and without conflicts from other events outside the festival,” said event coordinator Christina Nokes. “In 2021, we are able to deliver.”
Similar to past festivals, this year’s Wine on the Beach will feature unlimited samples from 11 Maryland wineries, 30 craft vendors, three food vendors and live entertainment from Bird Dog and the Road Kings and other regional bands. Wine by the glass, bottle or case, as well as microbrew and domestic beer, will be available for purchase.
This year, however, the festival footprint will be twice the previous size, with more beach, picnic tables and benches to accommodate guests and vendors, Nokes said. Berlin’s own Buzz Meadery will also join the 2021 festival as an added attraction.
“I’ve spoken with several wineries who participated in recent festivals. They tell me the same thing – people are very enthusiastic to be back and sample new wines,” she said. “However, they are also eager to buy bottles, select food and spread out on a blanket with friends. Fortunately, we offer plenty of sand and picnic tables to accommodate them. The music is an added bonus. It would not be the Ocean City Wine Fest without Bird Dog and some beach boogie.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets and enjoy the festival’s live entertainment from the sand. Swole Beach Boot Camp will also hold a free Wine Fest Workout on the Inlet beach from 9-10 a.m. Saturday.
“I think people are really excited to get out,” Nokes said this week. “Come sit near the ocean, feel the breeze and drink some wine.”
Organizers noted that while masks will not be required, handwashing and sanitizing stations will be available throughout the expanded festival footprint.
“While we are thrilled to be back and offer a wonderful experience, we are mindful that health concerns are at the forefront of everyone’s minds,” Nokes added. “We do not require masks for our outdoor celebration, but we offer numerous stations and supplies for regular hand sanitizing. And we are making far more space available for enjoying food and wine along with music on the beach.”
The 2021 Wine on the Beach will take place at the Ocean City Inlet parking lot on Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Due to the popularity of the yearly event, Nokes noted ticket sales may not be available at the gate. To buy tickets in advance, visit www.winefest.com.
Admission includes a wine glass and wine samples with a photo ID. Those under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent. Admission for children ages 13-20 is $15, and children ages 12 and under are free.
For more information, visit the wine festival website or call 410-280-3306.