Third annual event Sept. 13 focuses on more than just wine

Most events in Carlton focus exclusively on wine, but two years ago the Carlton Business Association wanted to change that. Now in its third year, the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival celebrates multiple facets of life in wine country.

“It’s built around the premise that the annual harvest and agricultural bounty of the area provide so much employment to all the families here,” said Pat Swanick, event chairwoman. “It’s sort of a celebration of the harvest and a way to say thank you for the quality of life and the things we enjoy in this area.”

Starting at 9 a.m. with a power yoga class, the day features competitions, live music, children-friendly activities and local wares.Photo Credit: SUBMITTED - Harvest fun - In its third year, the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival celebrates the town and not just the wine industry, although one of the favorite events is the Grape Stomp Competition.

The event draws its name from one of the three competitions, the Grape Stomp Competition, but there’s also the Wine Thief Relay Race and Barrel Rolling Competition.

“Those generate a lot of excitement, a lot of spectators as people are stomping the grapes,” Swanick said.

To emphasize the focus on making the event family friendly, there’s even a kids grape stomp in the afternoon.

“We’re trying to do a family friendly event that’s not overly focused on the wine industry because so much here is dependent upon the wine industry,” he said. “Yes, we do have wine at the event, but it’s really a family fun event.”

This year the event has been moved to the center of town, which allows it to expand further.

“It’s grown in participation and attendance each year. We get about 1,500 to 2,000 people throughout the day,” he said. “In past years it was off Main Street in a parking lot and the food was all mobile food carts. This time we’ve moved the event to the center of town to the main park in Carlton, so it’s just a few steps away from a number of restaurants.”

Swanick said he hopes bringing back the classic car show will also bring in more people to the event.

“This year we’ll have vintage Ford Thunderbirds, three years’ worth from 1955, ’56 and ’57,” he said. “We’re expecting anywhere from 12 to 18 cars to come into town that morning in a big long caravan. Then they will park on site off Main Street so people can take a look at it, ask owners questions. You won’t be able to drive them but you can take pictures, ask questions and get a lot of information.”

Unlike other festivals, Swanick said admission to Carlton Crush is free, as are many of the activities.

“For the most part you could come and hang out all day, watch the competitions, listen to music and not spend a lot of money,” he said.

For more information about the Sept. 13 event, or to sign up for competitions, visit www.carlton

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