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WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival that was held the weekend of Aug. 14 at Mercer County Community College here, and partly sponsored by Wegmans Wine & Spirits was a smash success -- despite an unwelcome visit from the remnants of Hurricane Charley.
"For a first-time event with horrendous weather we still had about 3,500 people," Donna Csolak, director of the Garden State Wine Growers in Trenton told Progressive Grocer. Attendance was about half of what was originally projected, but given that it rained on that Saturday and "the skies looked like they were going to open up" all weekend, the association was pleased with the turnout. "Everybody had a wonderful time and we're getting together to see how we can do better next time," Csolak said.
When asked if Wegmans might participate again, Csolak responded, "I definitely think so. Mike Riley, their wine buyer, came and spent the day with us helping out, and he was so excited that he wanted to do bigger and more. He definitely will be a part next year and maybe a part in some other things that we do. It worked out really, really well."
She said as a sponsor Wegmans "gave us a little bit of money," but also handed out fliers at its three New Jersey stores in Princeton, Bridgewater, and Manalapan that have liquor licenses, and also put up posters in the windows of those stores. "And Mike came and gave some wine seminars for free, which was really nice. I think next year they will have a much bigger involvement," Csolak said.
-- Richard Turcsik