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Kent Art and Wine Festival is success despite weather

By Marchae Grair Published: June 4, 2012

The annual Art and Wine Festival was a major hit on Saturday, even though wine tasters and art lovers battled unpleasant weather.

Heavy rain did not stop more than 60 artists from displaying their artwork, ranging from paintings to jewelry.

The festival was free for anyone who wanted to meet the artists, but those who tasted wine samples paid $10 for a wine glass and three wine samples.

“It was nice, and there were a ton of really awesome vendors, really friendly people, and really good food,” said Tylar Sutton, an employee at Maize Valley Vineyard in Hartville. “There were a lot of eclectic people watching, and we all got a little wet. “It was a monsoon for like two hours.”

Many of the wine vendors were pleased to see continued growth at the festival, which is in its sixth year.

“There are lots of vendors here that weren’t here last year, so that’s a nice new additive to it,” said Mallory Hoopes, another employee from Maize Valley Vineyard. “I think it’s growing,” Hoopes said. “We actually talked to a guy today who said they might be spreading it down the street next year so we will see if it expands.”

Local vineyards get to advertise their newest and best wines to people who might not be willing to make the drive from Kent.

“Kent has a really nice downtown area,” Sutton said. “I think it draws people in because it’s a college community and has all this cool stuff going on, like coffee shops and the bars downtown.”

The Maize Valley Vineyard was promoting some of its classic wines, but also brought some unique selections for crowd pleasers.

“Our apple pie wine has been a pretty big hit today,” Sutton said. “It’s an apple wine with apple pie spices added to it. We have a bunch of different wines. We have a deli and produce stand, and we do farmer’s markets, and things like that too. We are most known for our fall festival.”

Hoopes had some handy advice for people who visit festivals and vineyards in such of their perfect wine.

“You can’t go by color, or bottle, or anything like that,” Hoopes said. “You just have to taste it. It’s all personal preference.”