I was in Geneva, Ill., on a Sunday September afternoon for the last day of the Festival of the Wine an annual event celebrating the harvest with music concert, food tents, flower market, wine tasting and arts and crafts booths throughout the historic district. A trolley ferried folks around town to the various attractions. I walked sidewalks filled with people, strollers and dog on leashes.
Arts & Crafts
Local artists and crafters showed their wares at booths circled around the historic Kane County Courthouse. Artists from other towns in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin also participated in the fest to offer a huge selection of handmade contemporary arts and crafts in wood, cloth, glass and paintings. Laura Miller, of Needles custom crochet and knit designs, skillfully clicked her knitting needles together in her booth while talking to me and other shoppers.
A booth filled with all sorts of gourds and another with recycled wine bottles turned into art attracted my attention.
Gourds and Honey
Recycled Glass Art
Everyone strolled slowly down the center of the street looking at all the arts and craft designs on display. I looked over the flower market with bales of hay topped with pumpkins, and fall flowers in a corner of the lawn in front of the old courthouse.
The thirty year old festival celebrates the harvest and the wine harvest with tastings. Admission to festival was free, but I purchased tickets for the smorgasbord of food and wine in the tasting tents. The food tents offered a variety of ethnic fare and entrees to desserts. I munched on Italian fare then moved to the star of the festival, the wine tasting.
People crowded into the wine tasting tents to sample wide offering of varietal wines ranging in ticket prices from the lower end Meridian Pinot Grigio, Beringer Moscato, Stone Cellars Cabernet and Penfolds Koonunga Shiraz to the medium range Matua Sauvignon Blanc, St. Jean Sonoma Pinot Noir, Colores del Sol Malbec, Sledgehammer Cabernet Sauvignon; to the high ticket price Etude Carneros Pinot Noir, Chateau St. Jean “Belle Terre” Chardonnay and Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. I tried the light, sweet Muscato and the spicy Malbec.
I stopped at Olive, a small shop across from the courthouse flower market, after the wine tasting to try samples of olive oils and vinegars from around the world. The shopkeeper at the store wanted me to taste a few of the different oils and vinegars. I saw rows of shiny containers filled with oils and vinegars blended in exotic combinations. My palate woke up and smiled after I tasted the sweet, tangy Marionberry and Tuscany balsamic vinegars. Then I got daring and tried the Blood Orange and Chili Pepper oils.
I wandered back to the other side of town for a live concert. The concert stage was conveniently located near the food and wine tasting tents.
The Blind Roosevelts, rock and pop band, had all ages up dancing and listening to the music. People were relaxed, maybe from the wine, by the time the show started and ready to rock.
I finished off the festival at the concert that ran till 4 p.m. If you missed the festival, here is a music clip from the Blind Roosevelts Band playing at Alley 64 in St. Charles.