Festival of the Vine bears fruit in Geneva
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Julie O'Malley of St. Charles loved the gourds. So she brought several of them from one of the many vendors at Saturday's Festival of the Vine in beautiful downtown Geneva on the east lawn of the Old Courthouse.
"We come out every year," she said, "to pick up some pumpkins and gourds and look at all the crafts."
Saturday, O'Malley was accompanied by her 1-year-old son, Rowin, whose stroller tray doubled as a display case for the fruits of her labors.
"We particularly like the Taste on the other side over there," she said, "getting a chance to taste all the different foods from restaurants around the area."
Laura Rush works as the communications manager for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. The festival, the 32nd year for the Vine, had barely gotten started after 10 a.m. Saturday when Rush rushed in to help an official from the local historical society who had locked her keys inside an office.
"This is probably one of the most physically demanding festivals," Rush said. "The hardest part I would say is really the weather. If the weather is bad, it's kind of all for nothing."
Saturday, after a gloomy and tentative start, blossomed into a sunny day with temperatures into the 80s and hundreds of festival patrons flocking to the vendor's tents, restaurants and special attractions, such as the colorful, giant Jelly Belly RV on the courthouse's north side.
"You see this logo?" said Jim Coffey, a goodwill ambassador for the Jelly Belly company. "When people walk up to me, they already have a smile on their face. There's no ice to break."
Jim and wife Ruth Coffey have been puttering around the country in the Jelly Belly mobile for the last four years.
Under a large tent not far away, Laszlo Marton, owner of the Galena Garlic Co., entertained audiences with his amazing recipes, served with a large dish of humor and personality.
Galena's Garlic Co. manager Ann Curione flashed cue cards instructing audience members to "Ooooo" and "Ahhhh," "Boo" and "Beer break!"
All in a dazed work for Rush and the numerous workers who put together the Festival of the Vine.
"We haven't had any lost kids or lost dogs," Rush said. "Things are running pretty smoothly."
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