A crowd of up to 350 is expected at the second Winter Wine and Brew Fest, which will feature the selections of nearly 18 vendors, a table-visiting magician, tantalizing finger foods and socializing to the backdrop of constant music, said Brad Ovial, president of Ellwood City Revitalization.
“All for $20,” he said of advance ticket sales.
Another $20 will provide guests a white auction chance to win a $500 gun from Duke’s Sports Shop, New Castle, said Raymond Santillo, executive director of the Ellwood City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Those who purchase tickets at the door of the Sons of Italy Lodge 608 on Jan. 27 will pay $25 to attend the 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. event and taste, among other offerings, Frank Carozza’s “Louisa Limoncello,” Vino De Fratella Santillo’s “Meritage Wine” and Dave Moore’s “White IPA” and “Chilean Syrah.”
His syrah was popular at the 2017 Winter Wine and Brew Fest, said Moore, 33, of Ellwood City, who has also been a craft beermaker for five years.
“They really liked it, so that is why I am bringing it back,” he said of the syrah, which he describes as being “in the middle of everything. It is semi-dry and semi-sweet red wine.”
Moore’s wheat-based IPA includes a hint of orange citrus.
“I thought it would be seasonal, a white IPA, sort of like snow,” he said. While dark in color, “It is a lighter IPA, so they call it a white.”
The first Winter Wine and Brew Fest drew 325 guests, Ovial said. It raised $7,800, most of which was applied to Ellwood City Revitalization’s goal of raising $90,000 to create 18-foot high triangular arches upon which lights will hang to provide a longer season for acts performing at the five-year-old, $2.2 million Ellwood City Community Plaza.
Like Moore, Ovial was surprised by the turnout of the 2017 Winter Wine and Brew Fest.
“We were very excited,” Ovial said. “Most of the people who were there last year, if they can make it back, will do so. I believe it is a great time of the year when people want to get out. It will be cold outside. It will be three hours in the afternoon when you can eat, drink and converse.”
For a small town such as Ellwood City, Moore said, “we had so many people there. It was great. I have been looking forward to it for a year.”
The SOI will also staff a cash bar during the event, Ovial said.
The Winter Wine and Brew Fest was the only fundraiser for the arches in 2017, and will likely be the same in 2018, Ovial said. Acts ranging from country and swing music, and brass bands, performed in the complex at 524 Lawrence Ave. during a season that ran from June to August in 2017.
Frank Pezzi, of Ellwood City, has been booked as the DJ and TJ Hill, of Pittsburgh, returns as the magician to the 2018 Winter Wine and Brew Fest, Ovial said.
Mary Jo’s Catering returns to the second Winter Wine and Brew Fest and will provide a wide range of appetizers, including chunked cheese, Italian meats and cheeses, stuffed peppers, sliced pepperoni rolls, antipasto, biscotti and wedding cookies, fresh mozzarella and tomato skewers and polenta squares.
The white auction will also feature up to 12 gift baskets, Santillo said.