Wine Stroll Draws Large Festive Crowd

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The Eighth Annual Benton County Community Foundation (BCCF) Wine Stroll delighted an estimated 900 to 1,000 people on a sunny and windy Saturday afternoon, April 27. There were 22 wineries and breweries represented, all located at outdoor stops around Warsaw. A variety of food and drink was for sale, and complimentary water was also available.
The presence of some micro breweries allowed participants a choice of beverages – wine or beer, and there were also non-alcoholic beverages such as iced-coffee for “designated drivers.” Various vendors and businesses provided food including complimentary water and pizza for sale provided by Derenda Miller from Farmers Insurance, and grilled burgers/hotdogs from Adam Howe with Missouri Farm Bureau. Other enticing snacks and meals were from Granny’s Ole Fashioned Kettle Korn, Heavy D’S BBQ, Fahmeier Farms offering Roasted Nuts/Homemade fudge with wine pairing, Savory Artesian Crackers, Sweets An’tiques and Get Drizzled.
“The City of Warsaw has been great about letting us operate on the street and allowing open containers,” said Cheryl Petersen, member of BCCF Board of Governors who spearheaded the Wine Stroll event. “This is the second year we have opted to be on the street instead of inside buildings. During previous years, the crowds in the shops and other businesses were causing fire safety concerns, the wine dealers could not accommodate all of the customers who wanted to sample wines, and people with strollers could not get easy access.”
Parts of Main Street were closed beginning at noon on Saturday so wineries could set up their stations and early arrivals in town could shop locally. 
All of the wineries gave out free wine samples, and participants had the opportunity to buy bottles of their favorites. The BCCF raised funds from the sale of wrist bands that were picked up in the Community Building at the beginning of the wine stroll. Advanced tickets were $15.00, and day-of- the-event tickets were $20. Souvenir sampling glasses were provided when tickets were purchased. 
Petersen said that the total funds raised by this annual event have not been calculated yet, but that available monies will be used to fund grants for important needs of the community at any one time, and to provide scholarships for all three of the county high schools. Some of the non-profit organizations that have received grants recently are Warsaw North and South libraries, the Warsaw High School library, Cole Camp Ministerial Alliance, Benton County Youth Coalition, Meals on Wheels, and Trinity Preschool.
The BCCF’s Facebook page indicates that the Foundation was established in 1995, and it currently has nine members on the Board of Governors. Shannon Smith serves as president.