Once again people came by the bunches to celebrate the Festival of the Grape (FOG) in Oliver Sunday.
The annual event brought together thousands of wine lovers and those who just enjoy the bounty of the season for an afternoon of family fun.
As they have for almost every year since the festival began in 1997, the procession of dignitaries and participating wineries were ushered in by the showmanship of the Portuguese drummers.
“We love being part of it and it’s an exciting time of the year for this very important event,” said band member Bill Pascoa. “This is definitely one of the better events we go to, they always treat us well and people really seem to like to see us.”
Betty Armstrong was one of those people.
“(The drummers) are really something to watch and I come back every year just to see them,” said the U.S. visitor who was at the festival with friends from Osoyoos. “This whole event is just so much fun and the wine is pretty good too.”
There were a couple of new additions to the festival this time around including the Saturday Night FOG pre-festival party.
Along with the live entertainment by Oliver’s Wined it Up band, those attending had a chance to taste some of the products from local distilleries, cideries and breweries.
“This pretty exciting, we’ve got more wineries this year, we have a fantastic band (Brandon Isaak and His Saints of Swing) and we’ve got several teams of wine stomps and we’ve got the kids venue that’s just full,” said Linda Buhler, FOG chair on the day of the festival. “We’re the wine capital of Canada and give our valley a good shout out for who we are.
“This is an awesome community event we have fantastic volunteers and everyone of them have done excellent jobs and without them this wouldn’t be happening.”
Grape stomp winners this year were the Walnut Beach Nut Crushers who pounded out 30 pounds of juice, followed by Brits on Holiday of the United Kingdom with 25 pounds and Hip Hip Syrah of Oliver with 19. 5 pounds.
Presented by the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, this year’s major sponsor was Eastlink.