Harvest Fest brings local wine, beer, spirits and food to Fort Malden with new rock music twist

 

By Jolene Perron

 

When a local businessman took over Harvest Fest, he promised some new aspects to the festival while keeping it’s key components in mind – strengthening the local wine, spirit and craft brewery exposure.

He delivered.

“We’re trying to keep it small and make sure our vendors make a lot of money, that’s what this is about,” said event coordinator, Chris Mickle. “It’s about local vendors, and injecting that cash income into our local businesses. They are doing very, very well. We have a smaller amount of vendors, that was on purpose though.”

Mickle brought together six local craft breweries, three local wineries and Windsor and Essex’s only distillery. They also brought out seven food vendors.

My Son The Hurricane took the stage Saturday night, with brass instruments and a high energy performance bringing a crowd to dance in front of the stage.

“This is the most beautiful spot in all of Essex County and you can’t have a better view than this,” said Laura Moore, certified master taster for Coopers Hawk Winery. “One of the best things about involving ourselves in festivals is the exposure. People don’t often come out to the wineries and see who we are but when they come to the festivals they see who we are they get a chance to taste some of the fine wines and hopefully it’s going to bring them out to the wineries.”

Harvest Fest brought together six local craft breweries, three local wineries and Windsor and Essex’s only distillery. They also brought out seven food vendors.

The festival brought an estimated crowd of 7,500 people to Fort Malden over the span of three days. Mickle said their pre-sales went better than expected and were higher than the previous years.

“We had a great start Friday night, it was a nice warm up for the vendors, wineries, breweries and distilleries,” said Mickle. “Great music too – everything has been fantastic. Everybody loves the layout, the new style of music, with the international headliners and touring bands. We tried to stay a little bit more easy listening during the day with the blues, the folk and the jazz and kick it up with a little rock and roll at night.”

Melissa Hunter and Justin hunter enjoy a drink along the waterfront during Harvest Fest Saturday evening.

Greg Grondin from G.L. Heritage Brewing Co., which has only been open nine weeks, said that being a new brewery in town, events like Harvest Fest allows them to get their name out to the public and “the response is great for the beer and for the whole town.”

“We’re learning as we go, we’re taking notes for next year,” said Mickle. “Being an Amherstburg boy, born and raised, I’m proud to be able to throw this event and I’m very happy the town has shown their support for this event. I’m very happy the town and the community have our backs.”

 

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