South Okanagan wine lovers appear to be getting the message: the early bird does indeed get the proverbial worm.
Oliver Tourism is reporting ticket sales for the popular Festival of the Grape weekend of festivities Sept. 29-30 are almost double what they were this time last year.
“Ticket sales are strong,” said Oliver Tourism’s Jennifer Nelson. “We’re about 180 percent above last year for same time over year.”
Much of that success can be attributed to ticket packaging that delivers two big events at a discounted price.
“The biggest draw is on the combo tickets, which is the Cask and Keg on the Saturday night and Sunday’s Festival of the Grape,” said Ms. Nelson.
Early-bird tickets for Festival of the Grape are just $25 while tickets for the Oliver Cask & Keg are $20. But you can save even more if you purchase the limited combo ticket.
Until September 15, the combo tickets sell for $40 — a savings of $15 off the regular FOTG and Cask & Keg admission price.
“We’re seeing about half of the ticket sales right now are for those combo tickets,” said Ms. Nelson.
Tickets for both events include a souvenir glass or goblet and three tasting tokens.
The third annual Oliver Cask & Keg goes on the Saturday, showcasing the variety of craft breweries, cideries and distilleries in the South Okanagan, Similkameen and Boundary Country.
The outdoor event at Oliver Community Park will feature the high-energy rockabilly music of Cousin Harley and deliver eats from a selection of food trucks.
The event is non-smoking and restricted to 19 and over.
Sunday, the sun rises on the ever-popular Festival of the Grape — immortalized last year with an appearance from Canada’s own Rick Mercer.
The event, which runs from noon until 5 p.m. is open to the whole family. It showcases more than 50 BC wineries. and, of course, there’s the annual Grape Stomp competition, where teams of three compete to produce as much juice as possible often while dressed in crazy costumes.
“Grape Stomp is now officially sold out,” said Ms. Nelson. “We have all 24 teams filled and we’re already building a waitlist for the event.”
For the youngsters, there’s an interactive Kids Zone with games, inflatables and face painting and great eats at the Food Truck Jam.
“If shopping is your thing, a merchant market offers more than 60 vendors selling items from hand-painted wineglasses to jewelry to woodwork to clothing to artisan cheese,” said Ms. Nelson. As well, the Fall Art Show & Sale will be presented by Oliver Community Arts Council.
Oliver Tourism is looking for volunteers for the event. Anyone interested in helping out can contact Rhoda at 778-439-2363.