Kingston to shift its annual Wine walk to a more inclusive festival. (courtesy photo)

Kingston Wine Walk to become more festival like

Kingston has hosted a “Wine Walk” for years, but this year the walk will be transformed into more of a festival atmosphere and include breweries and cideries as well.

The event will take place Aug. 21 at Mike Wallace Park near the ferry dock from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. While the park will be open to the public, with food and craft vendors available to all, there will be a designated 21 and older area that will feature dozens of local and regional wineries, cideries and breweries.

Tickets cost $45 and include a commemorative tasting glass, 10 drink tickets and a swag bag. Additional tickets can be purchased at the Kingston Chamber of Commerce table.

The reason for the switch was two-fold, to ensure better compliance with state Liquor Control Board laws and to provide equal exposure for all participating businesses.

“Alcohol control had always been kind of an issue with this event. It was hard to be in multiple places at one time to police whether or not protocols were being followed appropriately in each location…The more sites that we added the more issues we had with overservice, and people wandering around with wine in their glasses, things that could put our ability to continue with the event in jeopardy,” said Micki Monroe, past president of the Kingston chamber.

Monroe has been advocating for the event for years to make this transformation.

“Let’s consolidate it into one location. That way you know if we have a small crew of volunteers we can keep an eye on the serving, comings and going of people with alcohol in their glasses, basically maintain the Liquor Control Board rules a lot easier,” Monroe said.

Also, all participating businesses may not have been in the top locations for the walk.

“Some of the venues would go all out, having a caterer bring in food, have a live band and things like that, and other venues wouldn’t, so the winery people that were pouring at the venues that were not so well attended would get upset that they were being put off out in the boonies, where they couldn’t really sell their product,” Monroe said. “So now we are putting them all in one location, and hopefully everyone is happy.”

The Wine Walk began a little over five years ago, but this will be the first year that many will get equal exposure to the wineries, providing options for those who do not drink wine.

“We would usually only do a couple of breweries and maybe one cidery, but you know not everyone likes wine, and we wanted to open this up to as many attendees as possible,” Monroe said.

The event will be taking some precautions due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and in particular the Delta variant. While the event is outside, masks will be encouraged. There will also be hand sanitizing stations.

A full list of sponsors and vendors can be found at https://kingstonchamber.com/.

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