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Eighteen years ago, 300 people attended the very first Festival of the Grape (FOG). In recent years that number has climbed to 3500 visitors. This year, FOG swelled to more than 4,000.
“2014 is our breakout year,” claims Bonnie Dancey, CEO of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce that organizes FOG. “People are very impressed with what we have to offer above and beyond the great wine tasting opportunities from our fabulous Okanagan wineries.”
“They have heard about our grape stomping competition, our greatly expanded kids play area, the entertaining music from bands like this year’s Juno award winning Paperboys, as well as a broad selection of food and trade vendors and an indoor art show. All that for a $25 admission fee, with kids under 19 getting in free. It’s an incredible and affordable value proposition that’s hard to ignore.”
“The feedback we’ve received about our family entertainment package has been very positive,” says Ed Dukes, FOG’s Entertainment Chair. “As expected, The Paperboys energetic stage performance had the audience engaged and dancing barefoot in the park.”
“Our grape stompers put on quite a show as well. The winning team was the Walnut Beach Nut Crushers (Osoyoos, BC) who produced a total of 38 pounds of grape juice. Second place was a tie between Uncorked Cellar Dwellers (Okanagan Falls, BC) and Fermented Friends (Surrey, BC) who both topped out at 30 pounds. There was also a two-way tie for third spot with Pete The Heat (Trail, BC) and Sticky Feet (Calgary, AB) who stomped 25 pounds of juice.”
Dancey was quick to point out that the event is growing in popularity partly as a result of local support from organizations like Eastlink that sponsor both the Festival of the Grape and the Grape Stomp. Others sponsors include Interior Savings that support the Chateau de Kids play area as well as Super Valu and the Walnut Beach Resort.
“We also have a fantastic volunteer network in the Oliver-Osoyoos area. Without their skills, energy and dedication to making each Festival of the Grape better than the last one, we simply could not put on the outstanding Wine Festival that is becoming the signature wine festival event in the South Okanagan.”
Leigh McAdam, global traveller, writer, blogger, photographer and author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures.
For someone who could easily ‘spin the yarn’ about her unique lifestyle, Leigh McAdam doesn’t like to talk about herself - so we dug a litter deeper.
This Queen’s University trained geologist has been around the globe -to all continents but Antarctica - a grand total of 55 countries. In Leigh’s world, there is always something planned, even if it’s a weekend. She thrives on change and travel quenches that passion.Leigh’s a mom with two grown kids. Husband John remains her best friend after three decades.
She loves a good bike ride, doesn’t own click-in bike shoes and would rather take a flat tire to get it fixed than to do it herself. Hiking and backpacking make her happy. Going to places most won’t. Solitude for the soul - being at one with nature. Yet, a walk around Stanley Park with hubby and hound is equally satisfying. Sea Kayaking scares her a little bit - when the sea roars. However, the reward for surviving that heart pounding adrenalin rush is relaxing onshore in a way that can’t be replicated on any other trip - likely because she’s totally unplugged from the digital world.
Leigh’s also a voracious reader, florist owner-turned gardener and she loves to cook - just not seven days a week. A coffee addict and latte junkie, she’ll freely admits that she could live solely on almond butter, buckwheat honey and banana sandwiches, forever. That becomes slightly more strange if you know Leigh’s a registered professional dietitian.
Her most recent achievement is the just published Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures. Leigh has written for Travel and Escape, up!, Reader's Digest online, BC Living, Canoeroots Magazine and many high profile travel blogs. She’s also worked with Visit California, The Rocky Mountaineer, Tourism Saskatchewan, Travel Alberta, New Brunswick Tourism, Tourism Montreal, Outaouais Tourism, Columbia Valley Tourism, Shuswap Tourism and many other tourism boards and adventure companies.
Leigh will never tell you that she has more than 10,000 Twitter followers, 3,500 Facebook likes, 800 newsletter subscribers or that her online pages average 33,000 unique visitors and almost 50,000 page views every month. You can also connect with Leigh Facebook: www.facebook.com/HikeBikeTravel Twitter: @hikebiketravel Website:www.hikebiketravel.com