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Downtown Stroll Features Music, Wine, Food, Fun
A little later than its namesake - the Escalon 'Mardi Gras' celebration, a downtown wine stroll, drew a big crowd and provided a festive atmosphere for the masses on Friday night.

The event, hosted by the Escalon Chamber of Commerce to raise scholarship money, had multiple wineries pouring outside participating businesses on Main Street, with the different businesses serving up hors d'oeuvres to pair with the wines.

There was also olive oil tasting, cupcakes, 'Po Boy' sandwiches, a pasta demonstration by Escalon Premier Brands using their wide variety of tomato products, music by a jazz ensemble and more.

"It was to bring people downtown for a fun, social event," said Chamber member and stroll coordinator Annie Gallagher. "This benefits our scholarships so the more money we make, the more we can put into those scholarships."

Chamber president Pat Brown was also pleased with the event, including the turnout and the weather, which was picture perfect.

"People seem to be having a good time," Brown said. "We lucked out with the weather, the band is great."

Hot Club Faux Gitane provided the musical entertainment, adding to the festivities, and there were also classic cars on display. There were some opportunity drawings, the city's Main Street Museum was open for tours and there was plenty of opportunity to network and socialize.

"My husband deals with Cromwell and Ney (insurance agency) as a client so we came in to town for this," said Melissa Case of Stockton. "We're enjoying it and the weather's perfect."

The local Bava family had a selection of its olive oils on display and available for tasting and patrons had a wide variety of foods - from the Portuguese bean soup served up by Shorty's to delectable cupcakes - to sample and enjoy.

This year, the stroll was hosted in the spring, a change from past years when it has been in the fall. Organizers said they like the spring better, and likely will move it to become a permanent spring fixture for the downtown.

Many merchants stayed open late, welcoming visitors in for the hors d'oeuvres and occasionally talk a little business as well. Near the corner of First and Main, the Oak Valley Art Society had some paintings by local artists on display and the classic car row also offered up some colorful entries.