Santa Fe Street in downtown Riverbank was transformed into a mecca of vendors, food and fun from Second Street all the way down to Seventh Street for the 37th annual Cheese and Wine Exposition, presented by the Riverbank Rotary Club.
The wine tasting was held at the Community Center and extended outdoors to a gated area where more wineries had set up tasting tables. On Saturday, Oct. 12 there were three different two-hour sessions that people could attend for $25 if purchased prior to the event or for $30 at the door and on Sunday, Oct. 13 there were two tasting sessions offered.
The line for the 4:30 p.m. wine tasting session on Saturday was quite long and according to event coordinator Chris Elswick, was a record number of people.
There were several wineries on hand like Barefoot Wine and Bubbly that brought out a few new products including their Bubbly Fusions that come in three flavors: Berry Fusion, Tropical Fusion, and Citrus Fusion. The fusions are all blended with natural fruit flavors like pomegranate, cranberry, plum that is found in the Berry Fusion or blood orange, passion fruit, peach found in Citrus Fusion, and pineapple, island mango, and papaya found in the Tropical Fusion. Barefoot also enticed Cheese and Wine festival goers to a refreshing tasting of their Barfoot Refresh variety like the Barefoot Refresh Summer Red which is a blend of Pinot Noir Rosé and Moscato poured over ice. A few other flavors in the Refresh line are the Perfectly Pink, Sweet White, and Crisp White California wines.
Barsetti Vineyards returned to the Cheese and Wine Expo to bring a few reds and whites to the crowd for their tasting pleasure. Guests were enjoying tastings of the Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and many more.
BevMo brought out a variety of reds and whites from different brands and locations to showcase some of the variety wines that they have at their new store located in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Riverbank. They currently have a five cent wine sale where you can mix and match any of the wines in the sale.
Cupcake Vineyards, Turning Leaf Vineyards, Gallo, Paulmert Cellars Green Truck Wines, Edna Valley, Allure Winery, and several others were also on hand for the festival.
Inside the Community Center there were appetizers and a variety of cheeses from Costco, Hilmar Cheese Company, O’Brien’s Market, and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company along with a choice of a few different crackers. The tables had grapes, strawberries, dips, and servers made their way around the room, passing out different finger food appetizers.
If the wine tasting wasn’t for you, there were plenty of other things to do at the event. Spec Ops Live Play had an outdoor laser tag course set up for the young and young at heart. Several vendors had giveaways, both products and information, and some of the food vendors handed out free samples as well.
The petting zoo was a hit with children and adults alike as they pet bunny rabbits, goats, and pigs. The pony rides were in full effect this year again. There were several guests that pulled up a chair or a patch of grass and listened to the live bands that played on the KAT Country stage or the Hawk stage.
The wide selection of food, snacks and drinks could be found in several areas along Santa Fe Street. Hillbilly Iced Tea had flavored teas available and after purchased could be refilled at any time during that day for free. The Lemonade Yard concession stand had a fancy cup with a long straw that also allowed free refills after the drink was purchased.
People lined up for the sausage on a roll provided by Lockeford Sausage, which is a returning favorite according to Elswick.
There were several different cuisines on hand like Castro’s Bar-B-Que Shack and Filipino Food that had garlic pansit and garlic lumpia. The variety continued with Gyros, chicken tenders, fries, or chicken on a stick as well as the fair favorites like curly fries, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and more.
The Kids Zone had a variety of carnival games and rides for the kids to enjoy. There was a Ferris wheel, giant slide, tea cups, and many more.
There was a zip line set up for those that were seeking a light adrenaline rush that guests sure seemed to enjoy, including one of the first to ride, Riverbank city councilman Cal Campbell.
There were plenty of deputies on patrol to keep the event family friendly and safe for all that attended. Among the extra deputies that patrolled the event there were also a few on horseback, which made it easier for them to maneuver through the crowds.
Riverbank Police Services officials stated that the two-day event had a few incidents but for the most part was pretty smooth. Weather that saw bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s provided the perfect backdrop for the fun.