This city’s toast to the area wine and craft beer industries will uncork again Saturday when the ninth-annual Budbreak Wine and Craft Beer Festival is held downtown.
The event sponsored by the Mount Airy Rotary Club not only highlights North Carolina wine, craft beer and its makers, but brews up proceeds that aid a number of charitable organizations. Budbreak will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
A total of 15 wineries and three craft breweries are slated to participate, barring any last-minute changes, according to Bob Meinecke, Budbreak coordinator. In addition to a number of local operations, the festival lineup represents a cross-section of entities from around the state, including Cherry Hill, Concord, Glen Alpine and other locations.
Among Surry County-based vendors listed as participants are Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, Surry Cellars and Shelton Vineyards of Dobson and Skull Camp Brewing of Elkin.
Live music also will be part of the event, including two groups, Phatt City, which specializes in rhythm and blues, and The Mulligans, billed as an “upbeat acoustical cover duo.”
The section of North Main Street from Oak Street to Independence Boulevard will be closed to vehicular traffic, allowing space for the various vendors to set up stations and Budbreak attendees to sample and buy their various wares.
General admission to the event costs $20, while the general admission price for no tasting is $5.01. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult.
To comply with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement regulations, all attendees who will be tasting, drinking or buying alcohol on the festival grounds must be 21 years of age and have a tasting wristband. Food and non-wine beverages will be available for purchase from selected vendors.
“We’ve got everything lined up,” Meinecke said Monday of all logistical and other preparations for Budbreak, which drew “roughly” around 2,000 people last year despite cool and windy conditions. “We still had a decent turnout,” he added.
“The weatherman can’t make up his mind,” Meinecke said of the varying forecasts he had seen for this year’s event. On Monday, the National Weather Service was predicting mostly cloudy conditions for Budbreak, with a 40 percent chance of showers and highs in the upper 70s.
Meinecke is excited about how proceeds from the event aid local non-profit organizations including the Salvation Army, Shepherd’s House, Surry Medical Ministries, United Fund of Surry, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department and Surry Arts Council.
“We wrote a check for $18,000 last year,” he said of the Rotary Club, which in addition to those organizations supports local food banks and literacy, polio vaccination and other programs through the success of the festival. “We hope to do better this year.”
A new fundraising aspect this year will feature cookies and turnovers contributed by Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies. Those items will be sold for $2 and $3 donations, respectively, to benefit the RUSH (Rotarians United to Stop Hunger) program.
Our State magazine will have a presence at Budbreak, including manning a booth where 35 cases of copies of that publication will be given to crowd members stopping by, Meinecke said. He mentioned that Our State’s participation reflects the extra marketing efforts that are attracting increasing Budbreak interest from a wide area.
An economic-impact study also will be conducted Saturday by a group from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, to gauge what Budbreak represents to the local community including overnight accommodations and meals.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.