Las Vegas themed wine fest events caters to community

The Brogan Museum of Art and Science will be holding its sixth annual Florida Wine Festival April 11, 12 and 13 to bring the community together for a downtown event, said Aimee Hills Hayes, director of youth education at the museum.

“I enjoy seeing the families come together for this event,” Hayes said.

The Florida Wine Festival is a 3-day celebration that will have a Las Vegas style theme.

Thursday night’s events will be at Kleman Plaza, where it will be transformed into a Las Vegas Revue. At 7 p.m., festival attendees will walk through Kleman Plaza as they taste fine wine and have an assortment of food from selected restaurants and caterers. Guests will also have a chance to play casino games like Poker, Roulette, Black Jack and Craps.

There will be an assortment of 50 wines to taste, in addition to a Bacardi bar.

The guests will be able to win cash prizes Thursday night, said ChuCha Barber, executive director of the museum.

“Attendees will be able to trade in their casino cash for prizes such as cruises,” Barber said.

Today, area partner restaurants have created a night of wine and dinner pairing with exclusive events happening at each restaurant. The restaurants will select featured foods, wines and guest appearances. The cost for Friday night’s events is $68 per person including taxes and gratuities.

There will be wine critics, chef appearances and talks from vineyard owners, Barber said.

“Friday night’s intention is for people to experience the finer restaurants in the community,” Barber said.

Saturday’s events will be free for the entire community and will include a celebrity grape stomping competition, an assortment of food from vendors and entertainment for the whole family.

There will also be a variety of activities for people under the age of 21 with an emphasis on family, Hayes said.

“There will be demonstration on live animals, science experiments on dancing raisins, a grape catapult and two art projects,” Hayes said.

There will also be an appearance by 60 members of the Florida A&M University’s Marching Band during the grape stomping competition.

“Last year’s winning team from The City of Tallahassee will be defending their title,” Barber said. “New celebrity teams will vie this year for the Defend the Cup Challenge and it will happen to the sounds and stomps of the FAMU Marching Band.”

FAMU has played a critical role in the festival especially the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture, Barber said.

“They were a partner in building the stomping platform for the competition,” Barber said. “They will also have an educational presentation on Thursday and Saturday on how the university plays a significant role with the emerging industry of wine.”

Barber said the Florida Wine Festival has something for everybody.

“As a nation we are annually increasing our wine and fine food appreciation,” Barber said.

Whitney Baldwin, 21, a senior political science student from West Palm Beach, said her favorite part of wine tasting was being able to taste all the various types of wine.

“It opened my eyes to a new experience of tasting wine,” Baldwin said.