Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shores of Erie International Wine Festival breaks their attendance record

Posted By Ron Giofu/The Amherstburg Echo
Posted 11 hours ago
AMHERSTBURG – The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival has completed a highly successful fifth anniversary celebration.
The four-day festival wrapped up Sunday evening and when all was said and done, approximately 20,000 had passed through the gates of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. To say organizers were pleased, it was an understatement.
“We were hoping for that number and we are overjoyed with that number especially with the way the economy is,” said wine festival committee chair Karen Gyorgy. “We are very, very happy.”
Gyorgy attributed the success to the venue, the music, the volunteers and the sponsors. She said they offered something for everyone and that she received numerous compliments about how helpful volunteers were. Government grants were also a big part of their success as it allowed them to bring in top level entertainment.
“People know we’re trying to do a quality event,” said Gyorgy.
Limiting the number of tickets per night helped, she believed, as they tried to lessen the “shoulder to shoulder” type crowds that packed in the Fort, especially on Saturday night.
“It’s not about packing people in here,” said Gyorgy. “It’s about quality, not quantity. It’s about the quality of the event.”
The event featured such music as Bedouin Soundlash, Serena Ryder and Kathleen Edwards, just to name a few. Demo tents, a winemakers pavilion, 12 local wineries and 23 restaurants helped make the event the success that it was.
Gyorgy said the 20,000 people helps showcase the region as they also visit other establishments in the area. There were reports of people from Toronto, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, London, Chatham and Collingwood coming into Amherstburg and enjoying the festival.
“It brought 20,000 people to our region. It’s our mandate and I believe we accomplished it,” said Gyorgy.
The shuttle service worked well, she said, and the House of Shalom Youth Centre were an enormous help with maintenance and cleanup. The House of Shalom cashes in the empty wine bottles as a fundraiser.}

“I can’t give enough credit to the House of Shalom,” said Gyorgy. “They are beyond belief. They are great. I can’t say enough about the House of Shalom.”
Plans for 2010 will get underway very shortly, if not already, but Gyorgy said there are no plans for expansion. They may look to do new things within the festival and help keep it fresh and lively.
“It’s all about the wine,” she said.
Gordon Orr, managing director of the Windsor-Essex County & Pelee Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted that the wine festival is the “perfect blend” of the region’s wine and food.
“We’re really celebrating the bounty of the region,” he said during Thursday night’s opening ceremonies.
Mayor Wayne Hurst said that the event has evolved from being an event to a “happening.” He encouraged patrons to walk through the downtown and enjoy what Amherstburg has to offer. Town council voted Monday night to send a letter of congratulations to the wine festival committee for their work in staging a successful event.
Essex County Warden Nelson Santos offered his congratulations to the municipality and the organizing committee, as did Essex MP Jeff Watson and Essex MPP Bruce Crozier.
“This is one of the premier events in the Province of Ontario,” said Crozier. “That isn’t by accident. I’m proud when I go east of here to Toronto and talk about one of the greatest wine regions in the province right here in Essex County.”
Article ID# 1752556

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