Pear and Wine Fest is this weekend

Fundraiser event, entry fee includes free Gorge wine tastings

Columbia Gorge Wine & Pear Fest, May 19-20, will feature 18 award-winning wineries and vineyards in the Columbia Gorge AVA, and include two days of wine tasting, fruit pairings from the U.S. Pear Bureau and food from top restaurants, all at Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.

Entertainment will include Northwest artisans and area musicians. For the younger set, Bambinos International Learning Center will have a bouncy house, playground equipment and crafts.

Besides wineries and vineyards, food and drink vendors — including Full Sail Brewery — will serve everything from pear pizza to pastries and desserts to juices.

Festival tickets are $20 per person for the day or $35 for the weekend, and include five wine tastings, commemorative glass and WAAAM admission.

Neil Price, chairman of the Wine and Pear Fest Committee, said that Rotary has presold 1,500 tickets this year; 300 more than last year’s total.

“There’s a lot more excitement for sure,” said Price. “Everyone has done it once and they know what to expect now.”

All the money raised from the event goes to support Rotary service projects in the community, the biggest of which is scholarships for graduating high school seniors, says Rotary President Stephen Ford.

Ford said that last year, Rotary gave $36,500 in scholarships; and the group plans to give $33,000 this year. Since 1996, Rotary has given $500,000 in scholarships.

The Lions Club will be on site to help with parking, and Windermere will be selling Hood River Coffee in support of the Special Olympics.

“We’re trying to support as much as we can in the community,” said Price.

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Hours are Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

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