Geneva's Sip and Sample replaces Festival of the Vine all month long
It might not be Festival of the Vine, but so far Geneva's Sip and Sample event has served as a tasty replacement.
Recognizing that they could not accommodate tens of thousands of wine and food enthusiasts as they had in the past, organizers from the Chamber of Commerce changed the festival, originally slated for this weekend, into the Sip and Sample event that will take place all through September.
A dozen Geneva restaurants are participating in Sip and Sample. Tickets, which can be purchased at the chamber office or on its website, are $20 and can be redeemed at restaurants for varying combinations of drinks, food and desserts.
"We still wanted the flavor of Festival of the Vine, so involving the restaurants was a given," said Laura Rush, communications manager for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. "At this stage the restaurants are better equipped to work with crowd control, disinfecting, etc. So having an event in individual restaurants was the best option."
Stockholm's brewpub at 306 West State St., a longtime supporter of Festival of the Vine, is offering a choice of five different food and drink pairings. Owner Michael Olesen said Sip and Sample business has been steady, but he expects crowds to pick up throughout the month as word gets around about the event.
"People were confused when it was first introduced, and over the weekend there was a lot of discussion about it," Olesen said. "I'm quite certain by this coming weekend we'll have much greater participation. I think it's going to be a snowballing type effect."
Other participating restaurants are 1910 Bar, Aurelio's Pizza, Cafe and Barr, Craft Urban, The Dam Bar and Grill, FoxFire Restaurant, GIA MIA, Livia Italian Eatery, Niche, Nobel House and Nosh.
"Everybody just seems excited to be able to do something as opposed to just giving up on Festival of the Vine," Olesen said. "Geneva is not a town to roll over and give up,"
With COVID-19 restrictions expected to continue, residents can expect a continuation of alternative event planning.
"Our main goal is always to support our businesses and bring people to Geneva, both residents and visitors," Rush said. "We will continue to think of smaller events for Geneva during COVID-19 that are both safe and fun."