The late September evening was the perfect backdrop, as hundreds of people gathered for the annual Escalon Chamber of Commerce Wine and Brew Stroll downtown on Sept. 25.
Cool weather, a nice breeze, live music and plenty of flowing wine, craft beer and conversation made for a special night.
Chamber officials said the event was a sellout, as all 400 available tickets were purchased in advance of the Saturday night stroll, which ran from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We still had people coming up today, asking for tickets,” Chamber volunteer Debbie Murken said. “We’re very pleased with the turnout.”
The stroll was one of those activities that was canceled in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions so Murken said it seemed as though everyone was eager to attend this year.
“They just want out,” she said with a chuckle. “The weather is perfect; it’s great.”
There was also variety, with many different wineries represented, several craft brewing companies on hand and many local businesses hosting hors d’oeuvres to go along with the beverages. Blaker Brewing out of Ceres and Grains of Virtue out of Oakdale were a couple of the craft breweries serving up samples.
Also, on the Main Street stage, live music was provided by Sweet Mama Rachel and the Homemade Jam Band of Modesto, providing plenty of tunes for those strolling through the event. Close to the stage, Ace Hardware was set up with several grills, a popular stop as the aroma of their food drew in attendees.
Several booths were manned by the Chamber volunteers as well. Kevin and Glenda Harris were set up to provide samples of honey from neighboring Riverbank, while members of the Escalon Historical Society were doing double duty, volunteering for the Chamber event while also promoting the museum.
“This is my first time volunteering for the stroll,” said Lisa Hagglund, noting that she has been present to help with museum events previously. “We just want to get more people to come in to the museum, to be aware of it.”
The Historical Society Museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
Outside Cromwell and Ney, several employees were hosting a table, sharing food and conversation.
“It’s a beautiful night, people are having fun,” Laura Leusink said, as she offered samples of some finger foods by D’Boni’s.
Attendee Amanda Ingwerson of Ceres said she was excited to take part in the stroll.
“I am having a great time, I saw an ad on Facebook for it, I heard it was for scholarships and knew I wanted to come,” she said.
Proceeds of the evening benefit the Escalon Chamber of Commerce scholarships for Escalon High School students.
Also new to the stroll was Escalon resident Skyler Alfrey, who was having some McManis wine poured for her by volunteer Zac Kessler, at a booth that also featured samples from the nearby Oakdale Cheese and Specialties.
“I wanted to support the Chamber,” said Alfrey. “We support most every fundraiser in town and I felt it was time to come check it out.”
Volunteers Jodi Crawford and Jill Williams had a chance to offer information about the library – where they also volunteer – as well as take tickets for the many prize drawings featured throughout the evening.
Attendees also received a commemorative wine glass.
“We had tons of great donations and volunteers,” summarized Chamber volunteer Deverie Voral. “It has been wonderful.”