The Budbreak Wine Festival, Mount Airy’s downtown wine festival, will be held May 4 from noon to 6 p.m.
The fourth annual wine festival offers wine tastings and sales from 15 North Carolina wineries, multiple food vendors, local artists and musical entertainment. Proceeds from the event will benefit charity organizations supported by the Mount Airy Rotary Club, who partnered with the Downtown Business Association in order to host the event.
WFMY Channel 2’s Eric Chilton, a Mount Airy native, will be the emcee for the event.
Chilton’s band, Eric and the Chilltones, will provide entertainment from 3 to 6 p.m. The Mediocre Bad Guys will kick-off the event at 12:30 p.m.
Budbreak Wine Festival enjoyed at least 2,000 visitors during last year’s event, which is presented by the Mount Airy Rotary Club in cooperation with the Downtown Business Association.
Previous years’ festivities included a wine competition, which will not be part of this year’s festival. Bob Meinecke, organizer of the festival and member of the Mount Airy Rotary Club, explained that omitting the competition from this year’s festival allows the focus to be on enjoying and celebrating the offerings of local wineries.
Meinecke said the event is a “real collaborative effort” with the Downtown Business Association, who will host a special Sidewalk Sale in conjunction with the wine festival. “Merchants can take advantage of the wine festival on the street and have the opportunity to draw people into their venues with the sidewalk sale.”
“We want to bring awareness to the wonders of Mount Airy. This is a great spring event to do this. This festival draws in people from a variety of states. Last year, we had people from as far as Arizona who plan their vacations around events like this — 12 states were represented at last year’s festival. People are staying overnight and spending their money in a variety of ways. We even have wine packages available that include a night in the Hampton Inn, a bottle of wine, and Budbreak Wine Festival tickets,” explained Meinecke.
An article printed in a recent edition of the Greensboro News and Record referred to the dissatisfaction several owners of Surry County-based wineries had in larger wine festivals, which often resulted in low sales and high levels of intoxication. Meinecke said that Mount Airy’s wine festival was a concentrated effort to create a smaller, more family-friendly event that celebrates the local wine industry and agricultural contribution vineyards have to this region — a departure from some of the larger events held regionally.
Meinecke explained that by law, individual wineries are “charged with the responsibility to not allow people to drink too much.”
“We continue to keep our event small and focused on food, wine, and entertainment. The quality of the event is there and we have avoided the controversy associated with larger festivals,” said Meinecke.
This year’s event includes a fundraiser for Surry Community College’s viticulture center.
David Chaloupka, owner of Amadour Winery and Vineyards, which will open this fall in the Dobson area, worked with the general manager of Fiat of the Triad out of Greensboro, Pamela Shelton, to secure a FIAT 2013 limited edition Abarth car that will be on display at Budbreak. Chaloupka is selling tickets to win the rare car for $100 each during Budbreak. If enough tickets are sold, the car will be given away during the festival.
“Our hope and goal is to give it out that day, as long as ticket sales can cover the insurance policy,” explained Chaloupka.
“I want to support the viticulture program at Surry Community College. Prior to this year, they had no scholarship program and I wanted to make a difference in the community and stand up for a great program that I believe in. This will be an ongoing event with different fundraisers each semester for the program,” said Chaloupka.
The Surry Community College Viticulture program will award its first scholarship on center stage at Budbreak. Chaloupka said they were able to narrow down the applicants to three individuals and finally made the decision based on which applicant had the potential to make the most contributions to the program.
Winery participants for this year include Duplin Winery from Rose Hill; Elkin Creek Winery and Vineyard from Elkin; Fiddlers Vineyard from Cherryville; Ginger Creek Vineyards from Taylorsville; Grassy Creek Winery from Elkin; Herrera Vineyards from Dobson; Native Vines from Lexington; Old North State Winery from downtown Mount Airy; Slightly Askew Winery from Elkin; Southern Charm Winery from Lincolnton; Stonefield Cellars from Stokesdale; Stony Knoll Vineyards from Dobson; Stony Mountain Vineyards from Mountain Park; Surry Cellars from Surry Community College in Dobson; Thistle Meadow Winery from Laurel Springs; and Vineyards on the Scuppernog from Columbia.
Sponsors for the event help to offset the costs in order for 100 percent of the proceeds to go back to charity, according to Meinecke.
Platinum-level sponsors for the event include the title sponsor 100.9 WIFM as well as a sponsorship by Dr. Flippin’s Bed and Breakfast. Gold-level sponsors are wine glass sponsor CenturyLink and music sponsor Interlam. Silver-level sponsorships include food court sponsors SouthData, media sponsor Mount Airy Visitors Center, stage sponsor Renfro Corporation, ticket sponsor Surrey Bank & Trust, and entertainment sponsor Insteel Industries.
Bronze-level sponsors include event rental sponsor Cooke Rentals, water sponsor High Country Springs, sign sponsor Pine State Marketing, event transportation sponsor James River Equipment, advertising sponsor Perkins & Associates, promotion sponsor Duke Energy, lodging sponsor Hampton Inn, entertainment sponsors WorkForce Carolina and Buttonwood Chiropractic, as well as BB&T and Hodges Realty.
The Rolling Stones’ Bobby Keys, who performed last year, was unable to join the Mediocre Bad Guys onstage this year due to scheduling conflicts because of The Rolling Stones’ tour, said Meinecke
Proceeds from the event will benefit Rotary supported “local and international charities” including the local United Fund, reading programs in elementary schools, as well as funding for the Rotary’s annual writing contest.
For more information about Budbreak Wine Festival, visit the event’s webpage at www.budbreakfestival.com. Tickets may be purchased on the website or at Lowes Foods in Mount Airy. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the event, and $5 for general admission (no tasting). Ticket holders will receive a wine glass on the day of the event that they may keep.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or at 719-1933.