If you go
What: 8th annual Taste of Pennsylvania Wine and Music Festival
When: May 16 and 17, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: The York Expo Center
How much: Free (general admission); $10 (designated driver); $25 (single-day/wine); $30 (VIP/wine); $30 (beer tasting/limited to 700 tickets), $55 (all events/ purchased online beforehand)
More information: Visit www.yorkwinefest.com
Brian Dudley was tired of holding fundraisers that made $30.
As commander of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 403 in Glen Rock, the group would set up a booth and sell ham sandwiches at events and parades. At times, he said, that could bring in $400 to $500. But on other occasions, members were buying the food just to cover their costs.
So, he held a wine festival. It poured. And the group lost $500
"But everyone had a good time," said Dudley, one of the co-organizers of the Taste of Pennsylvania Wine and Music Festival, which is set return to the York Expo Center on May 16 and 17. "That was the impetus where it all started: to give back more."
Now in its eight year, the Taste of Pennsylvania Wine and Music Festival will feature 23 wineries and 18 breweries from across the state. That's in addition to live music and food from places including Baron Von Schwein, York City Pretzel Co. and Mad Dash Concessions. Organizers are expecting up to 4,000 wine drinkers at the event; the beer tasting session is capped at 700 tickets.
Dudley, who's also helps put on other festivals including Hibrewnation and Yorktoberfest, said the event lets people sample different wines from all over the state — that they would not be able to try otherwise — at a reasonable price. Since they began, the events have raised more than $80,000 for the Sons of the American Legion, he said.
Josh Bostwick is one of the owners of Heritage Wine Cellars in North East, Erie County, which will be at the festival. Bostwick said the event allows the winery to get in front of a large group of customers that it only sees a few times a year.
He said his father is associated with the American Legion, and that Dudley had asked several years ago if the winery would want to be a part of the festival.
"It's really becoming a nice fun event for the American Legion, and there's a lot of festivals in the state that the profits go to private organizations, "Bostwick said. "So that's refreshing."
Miles Walker, the co-owner of White Horse Brewing in Berlin, Somerset County, said the company has been doing "countless" tastings in the Pittsburgh area. The brewery started in 2013, he said, and it currently brews four beers — including a lager made with local honey.
Walker, who's also a geotechnical engineer in training, said he hopes that the company's beers will become established in the state's urban areas.
"We think that this festival will real-ly get our name out there and make people want to go find White Horse in the central Pennsylvania area," he said. "It's a great opportunity for us."
FlipSidePA Game Zone
Going to Taste of Pennsylvania Saturday? FlipSidePA Editor Ashley May and reporter Abbey Zelko might challenge you to a game of King Pong at the FlipSidePA Game Zone. Prizes are involved and champions will be crowned. Follow @FlipSidePA on Twitter and www.facebook.com/flipsidepa for more information.