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Cheese And Wine, Sun And Fun
With a nearly picture perfect weekend of weather, the crowds turned out for Riverbank's annual Cheese and Wine Exposition.

This year marked the 36th annual event and it was once again hosted by the Riverbank Rotary Club, with assistance from a number of community service clubs, school groups and business affiliates. Rotary member Chris Elswick, coordinator for the Cheese and Wine, said the number of groups helping out makes the job easier all the way around, and each participating group benefits by earning money for their organization based on hours served at the two-day event.

The weather was just right for a weekend outdoors at the street festival, with many people on hand at the expo enjoying the variety of vendors, activities, and good food. People typically come from all over the Central Valley, Bay area and beyond to participate in this yearly event.

The KAT Country stage had live music to entertain all the people that were enjoying the Sunday afternoon fresh air. Greg Scudder and the Beer :30 band was one of the groups that was performing live. Scudder, the lead singer of the band, is from Ceres and two other band mates are Riverbank locals. Their music encouraged some attendees to get in front of the stage and dance as the band played on.

Along with the music and the traditional cheese and wine tasting sessions in and adjacent to the Community Center, there were also several booths with all kinds of different merchandise. There were tables filled with jewelry, candles, belts, and toys and one art booth showcased some very colorful Chicano art.

Throughout the downtown area, centered around the Plaza del Rio, smells of different foods were in the air. Organizers made sure to bring in vendors with a variety of things to eat from pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, lumpia and Mexican food, to tasty dessert treats ranging from funnel cakes to sno cones.

Among those on hand enjoying the day were Ruben Franco and Bianca Mendoza, who came out from nearby Modesto to enjoy the festival. The two said they like all aspects of the Cheese and Wine Expo, especially all the different foods.

Julie Scudder, mother of Beer :30's Greg Scudder, was there to enjoy the festival and support her son in his band. She added that her sister had lived in this area before moving to Los Angeles a few years ago. Scudder said her sister now comes back from LA every year to attend the festival.

Children's games, pony rides, a petting zoo, spec ops laser tag and more were also featured and Elswick said along with visitors from outside the 209 area code, there are still many locals that come out to enjoy the event and support the community.