Rotary hosts Wine and Pear Festival in May

Third-annual event raises funds for scholarships

Festival Details

Buy tickets from Rotarians as of April 25, or online at wineandpearfest.com.

Hood River Rotary renews its annual fundraiser, the Columbia Gorge Wine & Pear Fest, May 18-19 at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River.

This two-day event will feature the many award-winning wineries and vineyards in the Columbia Gorge AVA, including two days of wine tasting, artists from around the Pacific Northwest and fruit pairings from the Pear Bureau Northwest.

“Our attendance tripled last year to 2,300, and we hope to perhaps double it this year,” said Dave Bick, this year’s festival coordinator. “We expect between 3,000 and 5,000 people.”

The event also features food from the best restaurants in the region, and area musicians; Rotarian Chuck Haynie and friends will be among the performers.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Hood River Rotary’s scholarship program for local graduating high school students.

Rotary provides about $40,000 each year in scholarship money.

“We fund other projects, too, but that’s our main focus,” said Bick, who took the reins this year from Neal Price.

This year, the festival moves into a different building at WAAAM, Hangar 3; festival admission includes full admission to the museum.

Admission includes wine tastings, pairings with local fruit, specially selected food from local restaurants, art from noted local artisans and music by renowned Gorge musicians.

Attendees will also be able to stroll through WAAAM, one of the largest collections of still-flying antique airplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country.

Vendors and artists hail almost exclusively from the Gorge area.

Participating wineries and food vendors on board so far are:

Wineries: Aniche Cellars, Cathedral Ridge Winery, Cascade Cliffs Winery, Garnier Vineyards, Hood Crest Winery, Hood River Ciderworks, Marchesi Vineyards, Mt. Hood Winery, Naked Winery, Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery, Pheasant Valley Vineyard and Winery, Phelps Creek Vineyards, The Pines, Springhouse Cellar Winery, Stoltz Vi neyards, Sunshine Mill winery (Quenett), Viento Wines, Wy’East Vineyards and OSU Vitis Club.

Food and drink: Boda’s Kitchen, Cascadia Creamery, Divots, Full Sail Brewing, Marley’s Corner, Oregon Pear Bureau, Palate Pleaser, Ryan’s Juice, Solstice Wood Fire Café and White Buffalo Wine Bar and Bistro.

A festival day pass costs $20 per person and includes four wine tastings, a commemorative glass and admission to WAAAM.

A festival weekend pass costs $35 per person and includes eight tastings, commemorative wine glass and admission both days to WAAAM.

Festival hours are: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

On-site parking is free.

Several participating local hotels offer lodging packages that include admission tickets; book at http://bit.ly/ZxGtqY.

The Columbia Gorge Wine and Pear Festival features local wines from noted award-winning winemakers including Bob Lorkowski, John Haw, Rich Cushman and Franco Marchesi.

Nineteen wineries are confirmed so far, with another three expected; bringing it to the same number as 2012.

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.

Last year, Rotary gave more than $33,000 in scholarships; and the group plans to give more this year. Since 1996, Rotary has given more than $500,000 in scholarships to local youth.

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