In what was described as the largest crowd in years – and perhaps ever – there was plenty of sipping, strolling, visiting and eating along Escalon’s Main Street on Friday night.
The annual Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Wine Stroll brought in a huge crowd and they kept the wine pourers busy throughout the evening.
Businesses along the Main Street corridor between First and Second streets kept their doors open and many of the owners were stationed outside, serving up hors d’oeuvres while wines were enjoyed. Other booths featured olive oils, food, fruits and nuts and there was music provided for the evening as well.
Toby Throne was a first time visitor, coming from nearby Modesto.
“I’m loving it,” he said, attending with Beth Murphy of Modesto, who was also enjoying the chance to sample some wines and visit along the way.
“I just came down to check things out and this is a very nice event,” added local resident Fran Lopes.
Chamber president Pat Brown said “social media” was an important factor in getting the word out about the stroll.
“And a strong team that’s working together to make things happen,” she added of the promotional effort that helped the event become a huge success.
It was so busy that, at one point, they had to switch over to plastic glasses when they ran out of glass, but they took $5 off the admission price for the substitution.
Brown said proceeds from the Wine Stroll will benefit Escalon High School students through scholarship awards, including one for the arts and one for music.
“We will probably double up on them,” she said of this year’s event being able to help finance a couple more scholarships.
First time merchant at the stroll was Susan Weatherby out of Mokelumne Hill, who brought in a variety of nuts and fruits.
She said a friend was on site representing a winery from Mokelumne Hill so they came together to the event.
Elsewhere, Elizabeth Moody-Dunn was pouring Moody Ridge Wine Company varietals out of Murphys, enjoying the chance to interact with the crowd and Breanna Astorga from the Olive Oil Pantry out of Manteca had their products for attendees to sample. The local Stuyt family was on hand selling their cheeses and Oak Valley Art Society was represented by artist Jaime Kimbler, who had some of her paintings on display.
“This is good,” said city councilman Ed Alves, surveying the crowd. “We’ve got Park Fete, a car show, a wine stroll; it’s all good for the community.”