Though it was missing in action last year, in the fight against the COVID pandemic, Riverbank’s Cheese and Wine Exposition is set to return to the streets of the downtown district again this year. Finishing touches are being put on the celebration, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9 and 10.
Admission to the street festival is free, as usual, and tickets to the tastings are available at www.riverbankcheeseandwine.com or at the Parks and Recreation Department office, at Riverbank City Hall on Third Street. While advance tickets are $25 each, at the door the cost for the tasting will be $30.
The cheese and wine tasting will return again to Antigua Hall, on the corner of Santa Fe and Second streets.
On Saturday, there will be three tasting sessions available, and on Sunday it’ll be two sessions. The tasting session times are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, with the Sunday session times set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Visitors should be able to find something for everyone: arts and crafts booths, food, and commercial vendors. And there’ll be a Wine and Vibes Car Show on Saturday.
Promoters say the live entertainment will feature five bands on Saturday and four on Sunday.
And they won’t be forgetting about the kids zone this year, either, with rides and games returning, as well.
They have added something new this year, a kickoff dinner on Friday night, Oct. 8. You can join them at Plaza del Rio Park on the corner of Third and Santa Fe streets, directly across from City Hall North. It will feature a five-course meal paired with wines from The Next Wine Group, but tickets to that part of the event will be limited.
Organizers are reminding visitors that weapons, even CCW holders, and including pepper spray, are not allowed, and neither are backpacks. They’re expecting to maintain a safe and friendly festival.
The Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition began downtown in 1977, so it has been happening for 44 years, but missed in 2020, so this will be the 43rd iteration of the event.