Mother and daughter Robin Curley of Longview and Sierra Wells of Vicksburg, Mississippi, apparently sought the right place to celebrate Curley’s 59th birthday Saturday.
They attended the second annual Longview Wine Festival sponsored by the East Texas Alzheimer’s Alliance at The Green.
They were not disappointed.
“It’s a great one,” Curley said. “There is such a variety of different flavors of wine.”
They were among 1,500 people who’d arrived as of 3:45 p.m. at a gathering that started at noon, according to Kristen Ishihara, who co-chaired the event. It concluded at 6 p.m.
A year ago, she said, the festival raised $100,000 for the alliance. She was hopeful Saturday’s second annual event would raise $150,000. It featured 75 vendors and 17 wineries, up from 50 vendors and nine wineries a year ago.
Event volunteer Misti O’Keefe said she was excited to see the festival grow, adding, “We have a very supportive community.”
Proceeds from the sale of tickets for wine tasting as well as purchase of other merchandise benefit the alliance, which was founded in 2017.
It provides support for families and Alzheimer’s patients through education and respite care, said Dr. Stacey Holder, treasurer of the alliance’s board of directors and medical director of HeartsWay Hospice.
Alzheimer’s was close to home for some attendees. That was the case for Sue Sunstrum, an Allen resident whose uncle, Jack Pentecost, was an Alzheimer’s patient who died a year ago at age 88.
“I think it is a cruel disease,” she said.
Her brother, David Spellings of Nesbitt, said he is a friend and neighbor of Altus Koegelenberg, one of the owners of Enoch’s Stomp Vineyard and Winery in Harleton.
Spellings attended the event in 2018, as did Taylor Ray Richardson and his wife of three months, Taylor Michelle Richardson, of Longview.
“We both like wine,” Taylor Ray Richardson said. He developed an appreciation for wines while serving in Italy with the 173rd Airborne Division.
Wine vendor Rebecca Petty of Texas Legato in Lampasas said she thought she signed up for the Longview Wine Swirl, which will take place June 8 downtown. But she was happy with how things went Saturday. Her family business promoted five wines: two dry and sweet wines and a blueberry/blackberry blend.
“It’s gone really well,” Petty said. “Lots of people have come through.”
The wine festival also featured a live band and vendors selling T-shirts, cedar furniture, jewelry, skin-care products, jewelry and other merchandise.
There was even something for the children: a small petting zoo with a goat and miniature horses.
Jade Killingsworth of Longview brought son Finley, 2, and daughter Amelia, 3, to the petting zoo.
“They’re cute,” Amelia said about the animals.
However, her brother was speechless as he ate a scoop of ice cream.