PARKERSBURG - The seventh annual Taste of Parkersburg will be 5-11 p.m. Saturday at the Blennerhassett Hotel and Bicentennial Plaza on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg.
A variety of food and beverages provided by local and regional businesses will be available for sampling during the event.
"We're very excited about it," said event organizer and Blennerhassett Hotel general manager Cecil Childress.
For the fourth year, a special wine tasting seminar will be Friday evening at the Blennerhassett. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the wine education program will be presented by Adventure Wine, a wine education group located Washington, D.C. The cost is $40 for the seminar, which will include hors d'ouevres and wines.
During the program, participants will learn to taste, judge and evaluate wine and learn to distinguish between different flavors and styles of wines from around the world, describe them to others and match them with various types of food. The program will again be presented by former Vienna resident and professional wine educator Robert Cavanaugh.
Childress said the seminar will be a mixture of past formats, with wine tasting instruction in the hotel's ballroom to start with. Participants will then move outdoors to the tent area to continue the seminar with additional wines, including some French vintages which are being highlighted this year, he said.
Cavanaugh will also participate in the Taste event on Saturday. He and his staff will have a separate tent where they will give small wine seminars, called "wine shots," during the Taste, Childress said.
For Saturday's Taste of Parkersburg, advance tickets are $12 through Thursday. Tickets are $15 at the gate. Admission includes a complimentary Taste logo wine glass for sampling. Tickets are available at the Blennerhassett at 320 Market St. and at the Wood County Convention and Visitors Bureau at Seventh and Avery streets in Parkersburg.
Once admitted to the event, Childress said visitors will purchase $1 tickets that can be used with food or wine vendors at the Taste for specific foods and beverages, ranging from $1 to $5 in value.
The food vendors will be serving food until 9 p.m. and the wine vendors will serve until 10 p.m. The entertainment will end at 11 p.m. during the event.
The Taste of Parkersburg will have several local artists participating in the event, exhibiting their works for display or sale, Childress said. The Parkersburg Art Center and Artsbridge will also be participating in this year's event.
The participating restaurants are scheduled to include: Angelos Great Steak Grill, Blacksmith Barbecue Shack, Da Vinci's, Holl's Swiss Chocolatier, Chams, Lui Lui, Mango Latin Bistro, Spats at The Blennerhassett, The Galley, Tampico's Mexican Restaurant, The Fishbone/Polo Club, Third Street Deli, El Mariachi, Hometown Cake, Cafe Blue and Yancy's Five-Star Catering.
Additional restaurants may sign up before the event, Childress said.
"There should be a nice variety," he said.
This year's program will feature wine and boutique beers, he said. The wine and beer vendors are schedule to include: NET Brewery, Proud Eagle, Capital Beverage, Kobrand Wine and Spirits, Falcor Wines, Toscano in Appalachia, WineTree Vineyards, Stone Road Vinyard, Vujade Vinyards, Hahn, Alexander Valley, Wente, San Francisco Wine Exchange, Black Oak, LeBaron Ranch, Constellation, Clou Du Val, Latitia, Kysela Pere et Fils, Simon N Cellars, Wine Connection, Dr. Thanish, Fritz Ritter and others.
Entering into its seventh year, Childress said Taste organizers are always looking at ways to improve and enhance the event. For that reason, plans are already being made to move the 2013 event forward to early summer, with next year's event planned for May 31 and June 1, 2013.
Childress said one of the event's main competition in the fall is college football - especially WVU football - so organizers will be experimenting with the schedule change next year. With an increase in the wine focus of the Taste, Childress said the current autumn date falls during most vineyards' and wineries' harvest and grape-crushing period, which affects the number that can attend. It is hopeful the move to early summer will be beneficial for everyone involved, he said.