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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Saratoga Wine & Food Festival at SPAC

For most people the end of summer is Labor Day. Which means the start of fall is the day after Labor Day.  For me, the start of fall is the weekend after Labor Day because it is when SPAC holds its annual Wine and Food Festival.

Normally I avoid such things.  I find them crowded and impersonal. I've always thought of such events as a place where people go just to be seen.  Those impression tend not to hold true at the SPAC Wine Festival.  The vendors are friendly and willing to spend time answering questions and almost everyone I spoke with seemed genuinely proud of the product.  They were all extremely knowledgeable.  I learned a lot.

The people who attend are also very friendly and considering there are appears to be more than a thousand people in attendance that's a surprise.  People are dressed  for comfort.  You'll find  guys in cutoffs and ladies in elegant sundresses.   Mostly the attire is summer daytime cocktail party.

Don't go to the Wine Festival for the booze.   It is a wine tasting event and the pours are just enough to let you test the product.  You'd have to sip at a lot of booths to be greatly affected by the wine.
 But isn't that really the purpose of such an event?  To taste as many new varieties of wine as possible?  To accomplish that the taste buds should not be numb.

Bottom line is the wine fest is almost like a giant cocktail party with the wines being the topic of conversation.  Indeed standing at a table with strangers it  is easy to strike up a conversation by offering an observation on something you just tasted or by asking a question of the stranger who just tasted something in which you might have interest.  Don't expect to make a new life-long friend but you can have some friendly conversations.

There is a lot of food to be sampled as well.  Because the Italian Trade Commission there was a strong Italian influence.  More important there was a great number of cheeses which complimented the wines,  Most tables had pieces of Italian bread to absorb the wine and water to cleanse the pallet.  Best of all several area restaurants had booths there and offered unique samples of their food. For us common guys several booths were pumping out a lot a pizza bits.

The weather held up most of the day but about 4 pm, when many people were getting ready to leave anyway, a storm swept through the grounds.  It never seemed dangerous but most people who were still at the Fest took shelter in one of the many brick buildings on the SPAC grounds.  It was no trouble and even a little exciting.

All in all - a very nice start to the fall season.


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