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Cheese, Wine Expo Update Provided For City Council
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This is a view of downtown Riverbank from the top of the Masonic Hall at Second and Santa Fe streets during the first Cheese & Wine Exposition in 1977. Photo Courtesy Riverbank Historical Society Archives

The 41st Annual Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition is slated for Oct. 14 and 15 in downtown Riverbank. The annual festival has changed hands a few times, beginning with the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, then it was organized by the Riverbank Rotary Club for eight years and, now, for the fourth year it will be hosted by the City of Riverbank.

Chris Ricci Presents is assisting the city in putting on the annual event and presented the City Council with an update on the planning stages last week at the City Council meeting.

Ricci explained that there were some negative comments about not having enough local crafts and artists so he has enlisted the help of Mod Shop Handcrafted Art and Décor. This company has contacts with 50 to 100 local artists and many will have their custom designs on hand for guests to purchase.

“The Mod Shop tent with 22 artists is going to be a fantastic addition to the festival this year,” said Ricci. “We changed how we are doing vendors. We moved the vendor communications from an outside vendor to the Parks and Recreation Department.”

Since Parks and Rec has accepted this responsibility they have increased revenue from last year’s $8590 to $14,360 as of July 17.

“That is an increase of 40 percent,” stated Ricci. “That just shows what good people you have working here. They work hard and do a good job. I believe that the ability of the City of Riverbank to improve the vendor coordination is going to end up with significantly higher vendor revenues for this year.”

Sponsorships were reported as being increased from last year as well, according to Ricci.

This year they will change some of the marketing strategy including a Hispanic radio partner and more newspaper coverage as well as the regular radio promotions on Cumulus stations and social media.

They have a new company to host the skateboard demonstrations which will have events on Saturday and Sunday.

The wine tasting has been moved from the Masonic Hall to the Antigua Event Center.

The Hispanic stage will continue as well as other music stages and an additional music stage at the corner of Stanislaus and Third streets will be available for guests to enjoy live entertainment.

Mayor Richard O’Brien expressed that they are looking forward to a quality event.