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Art & Wine Fusion - Another Successful Festival!
The 2010 Art & Wine Fusion was a successful day filled with art and artists, local wines and beers, and great activities like a bike ride up Dock Grade, a Kid's Parade and helmet demo, a fantastic salmon cook-off, more Kayaks on Wheels, music and other entertainment. Closing Jewett Blvd again this year made for a safe and enjoyable event for all our guests.
The event started at noon with the King Salmon Bike Ride up Dock Grade and into town, finishing at Everybody's. Soon, accompanied by music from Chiguaya Marimba, the Kid's Parade wound up the street with decorated bikes, wagons, pets and great costumes. The parade was followed by a helmet fitting demo by the trauma nurses from Skyline Hospital and the Kid's Korral led by Janet Essley.
The Salmon Cookoff got underway, treating guests to some great tastes of unique salmon recipes from local chefs. The Krazy Kayaks on Wheels paraded up and down the street to the cheers of spectators while the Strawberry Mtn Band played at the Boatworks. The afternoon heat, as well as the chance to sample spectacular wines from 10 local wineries and Everybody's superb brews, combined to pack people into the shops all up and down the street.
Soon it was time for the Salmon Cookoff judging. Our locally renowned judges, Chef Ed Tippel from Skamania Lodge, County Commissioner Rex Johnson and Mayor and Mrs. Poucher, scored the entries based on flavor, creativity and presentation. Meanwhile the public voting for the "People's Choice" continued until the salmon ran out. Good River's Barry Ramsey took 1st place in the Main Course division with 2nd going to the team of Reed Acol and Michelle Sliwa of D'lish Delivered and 3rd to Christian Erasmus of Henni's Kitchen. The order turned around for the Appeitzer division with Christian taking 1st place with a paired offering that included his salmon ice cream that he describes as, "Your head says NO but your mouth says YES!", while Reed and Michelle taking 2nd place. Later in the evening the tasting ticket count showed that the People's Choice was overwhelming in favor of the Carribbean Salmon offered by Jorge Rangel of La Playita Restaurant. In fact, his offering was so well received he plans to add it to the regular menu, which should please just about everyone.
The pace on the street picked up a bit as the evening progressed, the temps cooled and the Jamba Marimba ramped up the beat.The appearance of the Bennett Frisian team in harness giving free carriage rides up and down the street was a popular surprise addition to the street
Even though we never really saw the crush of revelers we had last year, all the shops and vendors were pleasantly surprised by the greater business volume they experienced, The crowds were still rocking to the One Step Down band as the festival began to wind down a little earlier than in past years. This allowed the vendors to break down while it was still light and actually allowed the street to reopen earlier than the 10:00 cut off.
Though our overall guest numbers were well down from last year, possibly due in part to the previous three days of scorching heat, in the end the festival was another rousing success for guests, merchants, vendors and the City of White Salmon. Thanks have been continuous for the efforts of the organizers, volunteers, merchants, vendors, wineries, police and flaggers. Their efforts produced another exciting and complex Nights in White Salmon event that went off without a hitch, and continues to make the Art & Wine Fusion a premier Gorge event.