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City Welcomes Return Of Cheese, Wine Expo
CW Riv
The Cheese and Wine weekend last October, shown, saw the return of festival crowds to downtown Riverbank, after a year off because of the COVID pandemic. Recently, the City Council authorized a contract with Simply Devine Events to present what will be the 45th year of the festival, which promises to be even busier as post-pandemic conditions continue to improve. - photo by Ric McGinnis

In what will be its 45th year, the Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition has received the formal go ahead from the city council, so it will return to the streets of downtown the second weekend of October, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9.

After a presentation of results from last year, plus plans for a few changes, the council authorized City Manager Marisela Garcia to execute an agreement with Simply Devine Events to put on the fest. They organized the return of C&W last year, after time off in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic.

As part of the presentation, a few changes in the layout of the festival were described to the council.

One change will be the layout of the booths on city streets. Last year, vendors, stages and displays stretched on Santa Fe Street, from First to Fourth streets, with some extending north and south on Third.

This year, plans are for the festival to extend on Santa Fe from mid-block between Second and Third streets, all the way down to in front of the Community Center, which is across the street from Cardozo Middle School.

And the Wine Tasting will now be held inside the Community Center itself. In the past, tastings have been under tents in different locations, as well as inside the Antiqua Event Center.


C&W History

According to the city’s report, the Riverbank Cheese and Wine Festival “has been held in Riverbank for the past 44 years.

The Festival was administered by the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce for many years until it was sold to the Riverbank Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club administered the Festival for eight years and in 2014 made the decision that they were unable to continue the event. The City then purchased the event from the Rotary Club for $15,000.

The City Parks and Recreation Department contracted with Chris Ricci Presents, Inc. for six years for the coordination of the festival.”

Parks & Rec then contracted with Simply Devine Events to produce the event in 2020, but COVID put a stop to that.

They put together last year’s festival, so this will be their second year working with the city to coordinate the two-day downtown fest.