Events: Fun at the Reggae Festival at Linganore Winery

The Linganore Winery in Mt. Airy, MD has a two-day wine festival nearly every month in the spring and summer season and each is based on a different theme. This month's theme was a Reggae Festival. I previously tried to get into the festival as a vendor, but was turned down as they said they were completely booked. However, last week I received a call from Linganore and they said that they had a vendor cancel and I was invited to take their place. Hooray!! I knew it was going to be a blast! (no pun intended!) I had to rush as I only had two days to blast some new items and get everything else together. I made some etched Reggae-themed wine glasses with a likeness of Bob Marley and some of his well known quotes, and some others with lyrics to Red, Red, Wine sung by UB40.

I was happy that Eric wanted to go with me, help with set up, and keep me company. Plus, he volunteered to stand in line and purchase bottles of wine to share.

The turn-out was much more than I expected. There were people everywhere with their lawnchairs, tents, ice chests, and kids set up in the grassy area to watch and dance to two headlining reggae bands: the Passion Reggae Band and the Image Band.

The weather was sunny, partly cloudy, and perfect, I liked my booth-space, people were friendly, the wine was tasty, and sales were good...I couldn't ask for more. I was disappointed though that some of the vendors were resellers, not selling handcarfted items. One in particular under a giant military-style canvas tent sold all kinds of hats: floppy hats, newsboy hats, french-cut hats, cowboy hats, felt hats, straw hats, derbys, Australian style hats, urban-style hats, caps, etc. Their sales were phenomenal for a festival venue and most of the hats I picked up were $39.00-49.00 each! I guess most festival-goers left their hats at home.
There were some vendors with handcrafted items like jewelry, stained glass, soaps, and even another sandblaster with a shop called High Ground Etch. The 2 young guys at High Ground Etch were super great to talk to and it seems they got into the business for many of the same reasons I did...they were tired of their jobs and needed to try something different. They did some lovely etching on glassware, bottles, ceramic, and even lava lamps. Good on ya, guys!!

Over the two-day festival, we got to try several of Linganore's fine wines. Eric first brought us back a glass of Linganore's Abisso wine which was dark red, oak-aged, sweet, and very tasty...however, I'm glad he only brought back a glass. The Abisso would have been too strong for such a warm day...and it wasn't even noon yet! On a warm sunny summer day, I prefer a lighter sweeter wine compared to a drier wine which I prefer in the evenings. We next tried a bottle of SkipJack Reisling which was more to my liking for the atmosphere. It was light, refreshing, crisp, and slightly sweet...YUM! Unfortunately, that bottle didn't last long. The next bottle we tried was a Sangria..mmmm! There's nothing like a really good fruity Sangria on a hot day! Although we didn't have any fruit to add, the chilled Sangria was fruity and citrusy (is that a word?), semi-sweet, and tasty. The last one I tried was the Chardonnay, which was had more body, and was crisp and dry...this would be really nice with a grilled swordfish dinner.

I generally stay away from Festival Food, but the Carribean cuisine was fabulous! We had a nice dinner of roasted goat (like cabrito), potatoes, and plantains. The second day we enjoyed a pit turkey sandwich loaded with horseradish! Yum! I can get used to that kind of festival fare!

Eric was happy that he got to attend one of the wine tours, especially because he is an avid home brewer and loves fermentation science. He also likes looking at big shiny equipment, pipes, and valves and piles of oak barrels and hearing about the process involved with producing a fine fermented beverage. He hopes to purchase a used oak barrel from Linganore for aging some of his home brews in.

I was stunned after looking at the aftermath of the first day of the festival...overflowing porta-johns, tons of scattered garbage, broken mangled tents, abandoned blankets, and wine bottles everywhere...which is somewhat typical of festivals and concerts! However, what was even more amazing was how clean everything was the next morning when we arrived again. It was like nothing had happened and the grounds were lovely again. Those poor folks at Linganore must have worked hard into the night to clean up...but they did an excellent job and are to be highly commended. What a hard job that must be to clean up after literally thousands of people in one evening.

All in all, we had a terrific time at the Reggae Wine Festival at Linganore Winery and I highly recommend their wine and their wine festivals. I really hope I get invited to vend at the last two festivals of the season: a Country festival in August, and a Jazz festival in October. I can't wait!

Cheers to Linganore Winery!

Link to news story about the Linganore Reggae Festival: