Rain, White and Blues
By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
For the second year, the rain could not stop people celebrating red and white wines and blues music in downtown Fredonia. The annual Red, White and Blues Festival was held Saturday in Barker Common and the surrounding areas.
The annual festival officially kicked off Friday with music at both the Beaver Club and Liberty Food and Spirits. Saturday’s festivities started with the Taste of Fredonia and music by The Untouchables at the gazebo. Forty motorcycles participated in the 9/11 Remembrance Bike Run which left at 11:30 a.m. Seven area restaurants set up in Barker Common, where residents could purchase small samples of food. Following sampling, residents could vote for their favorite restaurant and food. The winner will be announced at a later date. Local residents Sue and Marsha, both who did not want their last names published, said this was not their first year attending the Taste of Fredonia.
“What I have tried that I want to have again is the smoked coconut California BLT wrap,” said Marsha. “It’s really good.”
The smoked coconut California BLT wrap was offered by Squire’s Table at the White Inn. Sue said she could not decide which was better, the BLT wrap or a bacon wrapped tenderloin, also available at Squire’s Table. Executive Chef Dave Reynolds of Squire’s Table said the booth had been busy and their best selling items were the BLT wrap and the tenderloin; a past winner.
“It’s been busier than expected,” he said. “We look forward to competing and the community supporting local restaurants,” he said.
Kelly Calvey, shift manager of Pizza Hut, said she has been at the Taste of Fredonia for several years now. She said their best selling item was the pizza rollers which they could not keep stocked.
Head Chef Brian Bundy of Liberty Foods and Spirits said their best seller was “arancini,” a rice ball stuffed with mozzarella served with marinara sauce. He said the Liberty has won the past two years at the Taste of Fredonia but didn’t feel too much pressure to win a third year in a row.
“I’ve been really pushing for people to vote for the major contest,” Bundy said in reference to the U.S. Foods Next Top Product.
Sponsored by the Fredonia Chamber of Commerce, Taste of Fredonia participants also included Bob Evans, Kathy’s Confections and The Cakery. In addition to tasting samples of local foods, wineries were giving out free samples. Wineries set up in Barker Common were Mazza Vineyards, 21 Brix, Winery of Ellicott, Liberty Vineyards & Winery, Willow Creek Winery and Johnson Estate Winery. Co-chairs Christine Burdick and Jim Nau were appreciative of the wineries in attendance. It was an opportunity to return the festival to its roots of red and white wines, Nau said. The weather last year was disappointing, he added.
“It’s a pretty good turnout. The weather might kill us (this year),” Nau said.
Mayor Stephen Keefe said he was counting on the weatherman’s prediction of no rain, which unfortunately was false. The rain came early afternoon.
Megan Tracey, events coordinator for Willow Creek Winery, said people were starting to come out to the park before it started to downpour.
“It was picking up then it torrential downpoured,” she said.
Mayor Keefe was pleased to see the turnout of a crowd, prior to the rain, and the amount of students who came out. He said the village has a relationship with SUNY Fredonia to encourage the college to be a part of the community.
“We work with the college and make it about (students) becoming a part of the community. Fredonia has a lot to offer,” Keefe said.
The headlining act, Mick Hayes Band, performed in the gazebo late Saturday afternoon despite a light drizzle. Residents packed under tents and umbrellas. Nau said they tried to expand advertising this year to encourage more residents to come out. Burdick thanked the Beaver Club for being a corporate sponsor.
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