15th Annual Grape Harvest Festival

Agricultural Students Prepare Grapes for Annual Grape Picking Festival

For the 15th year in a row families packed the Florida A&M University Viticulture Center to celebrate the Grape Harvest Festival on Saturday, August 29.

Saturday was a chance to showcase research that the university viticulture center does in studying and raising grapes and their health benefits, making wine and preserving jellies, by putting people in the vineyards among the grapes.

Corporate extension communication liaison, Amelia Davis, said this event is all about getting Tallahassee residents involved, and interested about agriculture.

"Coming to the festival today is a great opportunity for students to see that agriculture doesn’t mean just farming,” said Davis. “It deals with veterinarian technology, corporate extension outreach, and entomology as well.”

Popular events included grape stomping and throwing, hula-hoop contests, and participants received the chance to look at and taste the development of new grapes. People also were able to get a better understanding about the effort that the center puts into developing a better plant for the industry.

Families also had the opportunity to experience grape farming and harvesting through vineyard tours and winemaking workshops.

In addition to whole grapes, for the older crowd, wine tasting was offered by the viticulture center. The wine is bottled for industry research and draws representatives from Florida vineyards every year.

Erin Grier, a recent FAMU graduate, and Grape Harvest Festival volunteer said that seeing kids excited about agricultural is what makes volunteering so rewarding.

"I have been volunteering for four years and it’s a great event for all ages,” said Grier. “This event embodies what agricultural stand for within Florida A&M culture."

first-time participant, Qiyah Lanier, volunteer, and second-year public relations student at FAMU said her favorite part of the day was grape tasting and learning the wide variety of grapes.

"Even with the on and off rain, the festival was still a big success,” said Lanier. “We don’t have that many festivals in the Tallahassee area so this is a great event to take advantage of.”

This year Grape Harvest Festival had an estimate of more than 3,000 students and families present.