Many fan favorites satisfy at Geneva’s Festival of Vine
By Denise Linke For The Courier-News September 8, 2012 8:01PM
Mary Flynn of SavWay Fine Wines pours a sample for a customer at the annual Festival of the Vine in downtown Geneva on Friday, September 7, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:42AM
GENEVA – What brings the most people out to enjoy Geneva’s Festival of the Vine?
Is it the wine tastings scattered between Oscar Swan Inn and the Little Traveler?
The sample-sized gourmet treats at the Flavor Fare?
Or one of the other attractions at the 31st annual downtown festival, which continues through Sunday?
On Friday, the answer was all of the above.
Food dominated the discussions under the dining pavilion next to the Flavor Fare, as a wine tent offering nearly 20 varieties did a brisk business nearby.
“I like that the local restaurants sell their specialties so that you can sample what they have to offer,” said Geneva resident Sally Nelson. “Several of the restaurants just opened this year, and it’s nice to get an idea of what kind of food they serve.”
“I like to have a nice lunch at the food tent, then walk down to the Little Traveler for its festival sale,” said Joan Zbinden of North Aurora. “In the past, I’ve gotten baskets, linens, Christmas items and garden decorations. I just love it!”
Visitors crowding around the wine tasting booths on the Little Traveler’s front lawn on Third Street offered a different opinion.
“We’re definitely here for the booze,” laughed Elmhurst resident Angelo Sorce. “This is nothing like bar-hopping in Chicago. The whole focus on tasting and learning about the wines makes it an actual event instead of just going out.”
“Also, I get to shop as well as sample wines. I just love the shops here,” added Sorce’s wife, Doris.
Gene Cody, of Cedar Point in central Illinois, came to downtown Geneva to kill time while waiting to take part in a charity event — and stayed to sample some yogurt-infused fruit wine.
“This is definitely something different,” he said of the wine tasting tents. “It’s pretty good. I’ll have to go and try the food later.”
Inside the Little Traveler’s wine room, Bobby Reader kept alternating tastes of moscato varieties with samples of dips and appetizers.
“This is becoming a family tradition for us,” said the Bloomington resident. “My parents have been coming here for years. I’m getting into wine myself, so my girlfriend and I came with them. It’s a great opportunity to learn a lot more about good wine and spend some quality time with my family.”
While other visitors mentioned coming back over the weekend for the craft show and evening concerts, one young man definitely had something on his mind besides food and wine. The toddler nearly tipped over his stroller while lunging sideways toward the horse-drawn carriage clip-clopping its way down Third Street, crying, “Horsie! Horsie!” with a joyous smile.
“I guess we’re going for a carriage ride,” his mother said with a shrug and a laugh as she pushed the stroller into the waiting line.