Wine, arts fest draws big crowds


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The sixth annual West Virginia Wine and Arts Festival drew big crowds Saturday, giving organizers hope for a banner year.

The front lawn of the graceful Boydville mansion at 601 S. Queen St. was lined with booths offering the products of a dozen West Virginia vintners plus the work of another dozen artists, painters, potters and high-end crafters, along with the author of children's books.

"We're hoping for a turnout of about 4,000 people this year," said Patricia Perez, director of the Boarman Arts Center in Martinsburg, the beneficiary of the event's proceeds.


"It's a bigger crowd this year," said Cecelia Mason, who handles the publicity for the event. "We had weather issues last year. The people aren't in tents this year."

The money is used to support the arts center's programs and to add to a capital budget to convert the Old Federal Building and Post Office at the intersection of King and Maple streets into a new headquarters for the arts center. The old brick building covers 24,000 square feet on multiple floors.

The Boarman Arts Center is housed in the Admiral Boarman House at 208 S. Queen St. It will change its name when it moves to the ARTS Centre.

Phil Rallston and Kendra Boyce were handing out wine from the tent set up by Wolf Creek Winery in Monroe County. The vintner specializes in French hybrid wines, Boyce said.

Prices for Wolf Creek wines run from $9 to $18 a bottle. Rallston, a taster for the winery, said the prices are little higher than average for most West Virginia wines.

Among the Mountain State wineries present were Lambert's Vintage Wine from Weston, Forks of Cheat Winery in Morgantown, Fisher Ridge Wine Co. in Charleston, West-Whitehall Winery in Moorefield, Potomac Highland Winery in Keyser, Jones Cabin Run Vineyards in Tanner and Roane Vineyards in Spencer.

"There's a good representation of wineries here," said Marty Skal of Martinsburg. His wife, Sandra, was sampling Maiden Kiss, a sweet white table wine, which she liked.

Both said they liked the port, blackberry and Niagara produced by the Forks of Cheat Winery.

"They're our favorites," Marty Skal said.

"We're here to stock up our wine cooler and it holds 30 bottles," Sandra Skal said. There will be plenty of good music for patrons to enjoy during the two-day festival.

Special among the performers are the Bob Thompson Unit and its brand of original music and Patent Pending, a well-known local group. Also performing is the Shepherdstown, W.Va.-based Lisa Lafferty Quintet with its blues, rock and jazz interpretations and Scooter Scudieri, also of Shepherdstown.

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