BY ERIC HRIN
The Daily Review, Towanda
EAST CANTON - Like a good wine, the Canton Wine & Cheese Festival is getting better with age.
Just ask Jodi Wesneski, the festival chairperson, who was on hand at the fifth annual event June 28 at the Manley-Bohlayer Farm.
She said the festival has really grown over the years.
In the first year of the festival, 500 people showed up, but that increased to 1,500 last year.
She said this year's attendance will top the 1,500 mark.
"This year, we are on a pace to exceed that," she commented.
She noted that the crowd included 1,248 tasters, in addition to designated drivers and others who attended the festival. For $15, people received a wine glass and wine tasting ticket.
Wesneski said that the visitors are also coming from other areas, such as Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. The first year, she said, there was just a local crowd.
In addition, the number of wineries at the festival has also grown, from six the first year to nine this year. Wesneski said there was supposed to have been 10 wineries this year, but one winery couldn't make it.
She thought the weather couldn't have been better for the event.
"God has blessed us once again," she exclaimed.
The Capra Collina Winery of Jessup, Pa., was a new winery at the festival this year.
Those helping out at the winery's booth wore T-shirts with a message on the back: "Grape therapy is cheaper than group therapy."
Tim Betti, co-owner of the winery, said he would be back at next year's festival. "It has a better turnout than I anticipated, so that's great," he said.
"I like the flavor of the crowd. They're a very down-to-earth crowd, and we relate to them."
He said people really liked his winery's sweet wines, especially one called "OMG!"
Stephanie Lane of Towanda, who tried some samples at his winery booth, said the festival was very convenient.
"I like being able to try all the different wines in one location," she explained.
As noted by the organizers, a variety of cheese, craft, and full service food vendors were also featured at the event, as well as blacksmith demonstrations and tours of the one-room schoolhouse and other historic buildings at the Manley-Bohlayer Farm.
Acoustic Pawnshop and Crossroads, which was new at the festival, provided musical entertainment.
Marla Oldroyd of Troy had her photo booth at the festival. People could wear silly glasses and other items and get their pictures taken at the booth. Shea Maier and Rachel Bowers from Wellsboro tried on some giant sunglasses.
The Canton Area Chamber of Commerce and Rekindle the Spirit sponsor the festival.
Hrin can be reached at 570-297-5251 or review firstname.lastname@example.org.