By Callie Hietala
Wine, beer, food, and music will be served up in abundance when the Matthew Wayne Wade Foundation (MWW) hosts its seventh annual Wine by the River Festival at the Smith River Sports Complex on Saturday, October 23.
The festival is the largest annual fundraiser for the foundation, which donates proceeds to a different charity or institution in Martinsville-Henry County each year.
The admission ticket ($15 in advance or $25 at the door, $10 for non-tasters) includes wine tastings from some favorite and award-winning wineries, including Chateau Morisette, Blue Ridge Vineyard, Childress Vineyards, and the German-influenced AmRhein Wine Cellars.
Axton’s Mountain Valley Brewing and Collinsville’s Scuffle Hill Brewing will be on hand for craft beer-lovers to enjoy, while the Lawrence Distributing Beer Tent will be pouring more domestic brews, including Coors Light and Devil’s Backbone.
Hugo’s Sports Bar & Grill, Jerry’s Pizza, and Tropical Sippers will be on hand to sell food and smoothies to festival goers.
Attendees also will enjoy music by several regional artists, including Julie Bruce, George Hodges, the Jeff Anderson Band, and Martin and Kelly.
A variety of vendors and community organizations will be on hand, including USA Today bestselling romance author Nancy Naigle, who has worked with the Hallmark Channel to develop several of her novels into movies.
“We always work to have a wide variety of vendors so there’s something for everybody,” said event organizer Tanya Martin. She and other foundation members, an all-volunteer group, work diligently to make the festival happen each year, all with the goal of giving back to the community.
After the festival each year, the foundation meets to decide where the raised funds will be donated. The team makes the decision based on specific needs within the community.
“Last year,” Martin said, “we gave to Project Lifesaver,” a program of the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office that distributes electronic bracelets to the families of people affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, Downs Syndrome, Autism, and similar disorders who have a history of or potential for wandering away from the home. The bracelets allow the wearer to be tracked and located by a search and rescue team in a matter of minutes should they wander away from their home, family, or caregiver.
Now entering its seventh year, the festival has become a staple in the community, with residents and visitors attend to mingle, dance, shop, eat, and, of course, sample some of the best wine and beer the region has to offer.
The event will be held rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. To learn more, visit winebyriver.com or find Wine by the River on Facebook.