CANTON The hot temperatures and dry weather couldn’t deter the thousands of people who came to try some wines, tour the Gervasi Vineyard grounds or sit in the shade along the lake. More than 2,000 people attended the sixth annual Festa Gervasi Grape Harvest Festival on Sept. 24.
The event was spread across all areas of the popular destination. There were games, wine and beer tastings, grape stomping, a grape walk (a twist on a cake walk), a candy buffet, life music and vineyard tours. Many people brought lawn chairs and sat lakeside to enjoy the warm fall day.
Proceeds from many of the events, such as the kids zone in The Pavilion, went to the United Way. Event coordinator Stacey Kunkle said the day is about bringing friends and family together to enjoy the day.
"We have six outside vendors here offering foods like gourmet popcorn, little donuts, biscotti and gourmet nuts, plus all of our restaurants are open for guests to have a late lunch or early dinner," Kunkle said. "This year, we have different events happening in all areas of the property. Even the Conservatory has a candy buffet setup for the kids. There’s a caricature artist in front of the Crush House and Gelato at the Ville Grande. There’s also live music, grape stomping and other activities spread all over the property."
There were many people trying out the grape stomping in front of the Crush House. All ages got in on the fun including Elizabeth Walls, of Uniontown. It was her first try at stomping grapes.
"I’ve always wanted to do this, I’ve always wanted to tour Napa and Europe so it’s fun that I can try this so close to home," Walls said.
Walls said the grapes were cold and it felt like walking on bubble wrap. The grapes emitted a sweet smell as they were crushed. The aroma added to the ambiance of the day.
There was a wine and beer tasting area set up. Gervasi had six wines available for tasting including their Lucello (pinot grigio), Fioretto (sauvignon blanc), Ciao Bella (Chardonnay), Brigante (sweet red), Truscano (sangiovese) and Abbraccio (cabernet).
Another popular area was the vineyard tours where guests heard about growing and harvesting the grapes.
"The purpose of the event is to bring families together to enjoy a Sunday afternoon together and to enjoy the beautiful grounds here at Gervasi. It’s also a great way to support the United Way fundraising," Kunkle said.