Who's already thinking about a glass of wine this fine Monday morning? Well, there's much to look forward to this week. The 27th Annual GrapeFest in historic downtown Grapevine runs this Thursday through Sunday, September 12 through 15. In addition to wine, there's also live music, cooking demos, winery tours and even a few physical competitions to prove your (wo)manliness. We've broken down the things you need to know:
1. The People's Choice Wine Tasting is where all the fun is. It's the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the U.S., with more than 140 wines from 35 Texas wineries in ten different categories. Tickets are $20 an you'll get a booklet to guide you through the wines, along with the ballot. Get tickets in advance online.
2. There's an early bird special if you're pinching pennies: admission is free Thursday and Friday until 5 p.m. If you're ready to go all in, a weekend pass is $18; children five and under are gratis (kids, you say? Yes, there are actually a lot of kid activities). Or it's $8 for one day.
3. In addition to usual festival-type fare (funnel cakes and corn dogs) there are also fajitas, crepes, barbecue, fancy potatoes, smoked buffalo brats and other things. Or, again, funnel cakes ... and wine ... all weekend.
4. There are actually free shuttles from the festival to local wineries on both Saturday and Sunday. So after perusing the vendors there, you can catch a ride to nearby winery tasting rooms, then back to the big event. You'll just be up to your eyeballs in grapes.
5. The Killdares are playing Thursday night at 8:30 on the Bud Light stage. Yes, Celtic music at a Texas wine festival on the Bud Light stage. It feels contrary in many ways, but just let it happen. Remember, we're not bickering about petty things anymore.
6. There are some interesting food demos going on at the Gazebo Stage, including John Tesar of Spoon, Paula Lambert of the Mozzarella Company and David McMillian of the Meddlesome Moth.
7. If you're in a starched pants kind of mood, there's a fancy champagne terrace at Liberty Park with shade trees and live jazz.
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8. GrapeStomping, for those that have zero inhibitions about their feet, is a competitive sport. You just need a partner and $5. Get 'em, tiger.
9. If you're known as the one at the party who clears out a room when you pop a cork, well, there's a competition for that too. Prizes are awarded for the top three distances.
10. Finally (drum roll), word on the street is that all roads leading to Grapevine are finally cleared of construction. Proof that the Great Traffic God loves wine (but is impartial to weird intersections/exchanges -- not that Dallas is throwing stones in their big glass house).
Bonus: If wine gives you hives or whatever, there will be beer too.