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Weekend Festival Brings Crowd, Fun To Community
Cheese And Wine
Festival goers over the weekend flocked to the Riverbank Community Center, here on Saturday afternoon, to enjoy tasting the cheese and wine, featured in the 46th annual event. There were a number of sessions scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday at the center. See additional photos, Page A3. Ric McGinnis/The News

Beginning under a bit of the morning shadow of the lunar eclipse, the annual Cheese and Wine Festival returned to Santa Fe Street in downtown Riverbank this past weekend, starting Saturday morning and continuing through Sunday afternoon.

It was the 46th iteration of the event, which brought the headline elements – cheese and wine in the signature tastings – along with vendors of all kinds, musicians, kids games, and a car show. The area for the Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 festival days covered a stretch between Fourth and Seventh streets. While some social media posts groused about the festival not reaching down to City Hall, on Third Street, businesses between Third and Fourth on Santa Fe seemed to be plenty busy with customers, where in the past, their storefronts were blocked off by festival booths. Other posts didn’t seem to mind the more compressed festival area.

And while others complained that the Cheese and Wine event seemed smaller than in the past, more expressed satisfaction with how it turned out.

Vendors at the event included lots of food and beverage choices, along with clothing and hat sellers, crafts, art work and others. They included a Tesla dealer, a heating and air conditioning supplier, even Black Oak Casino as some of the commercial participants.

Two stages were available, and while the one on Fourth Street seemed to only feature a DJ on Saturday afternoon, the end stage, backing on Seventh Street, featured live music from a variety of bands. Saturday afternoon, My Soul To Keep, from Stockton, performed for the crowd.

The two blocks on Santa Fe, from Fifth to Seventh, featured a car show on both sides of the street, in front of Cardozo Middle School and the Community Center. Participants included owners of classic, restored cars, hot rods, even a few trucks, along with motorcycles for people to admire.

Inside the Community Center, both cheese and wine were tasted, with several sessions both afternoons. A DJ played music inside, and occasional dancing broke out as many in attendance enjoyed the tunes featured.

Not to be left out, there was a large grassy area set aside for the kids, next door to the Community Center, with a pony ride, a petting zoo, and a number of inflatable bounce house type offerings. Some were to bounce on, some to climb up and slide down, and others to throw or kick balls through.

The event was staged from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Sheriff’s Department Police Services Deputies patrolled the streets of the Cheese & Wine Festival over the weekend, led here by their mascot, “Beary.” They were visible on the grounds on foot, on bicycle and on horseback. Ric McGinnis/The News
Car enthusiasts among the festival goers over the weekend had plenty to look at while attending the 46th Cheese & Wine Festival in Riverbank. On Saturday, the vehicles stretched from Fifth to Seventh streets, on both sides of Santa Fe. Cars, trucks and motorcycles on display represented customized vehicles and hot rods, as well as vintage rides. Ric McGinnis/The News
A number of inflated activities were set up in the grassy park area at the Riverbank Community Center. They were a feature designed for youngsters, as part of the Cheese & Wine Festival celebrated this past weekend. Some provided opportunities for kids to throw balls, while others were slides, bounce houses, or mazes. Ric McGinnis/The News