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Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Clifton throws first wine festival on Aug. 11.

When the new Clifton Town Council and mayor were looking for a way to promote the town and raise revenue, they knew what would reel in the public: six hours of wine, music, food and children’s games. The Clifton Wine Festival, which will take place Saturday, Aug. 11 from 12-6 p.m. in the town park, will include all of that, as well as jewelry booths and arts and crafts vendors.

"We're trying to make it a real fun event, a miniature Clifton Day," said Mayor Tom Peterson.

Ten Virginia wineries will set up shop in Clifton Town Park for the event, which is being hosted by Capital Roofing-USA, and various food vendors will be on-site. "They're going to be quality food vendors, so they'll blend with the wine being served," said Peterson, adding that the wine vendors will be able to advise festival-goers on which wines go with which dishes.

A children's area will feature a moon bounce and other activities, and two local bands will provide music for the event, with a country set by Southern Xcess and the Pam Pelano Band playing rock and pop.

Peterson said the town hopes the Wine Festival will bring out 2,000 people and raise $30,000 to $35,000. "One of the only ways we can generate revenue here is with events like this," he said.

Rachel Fricke, one of the event’s two main organizers, said the festival has been in planning since late February. She said the tickets had just arrived and will likely be available by this weekend at Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot, the Clifton General Store and the festival's Web site, www.cliftonwinefestival.com. For adults, tickets will cost $13 in advance and $15 the day of the festival, and all tickets for those under 21 will cost $5.

Clifton resident Marcus Silva said he got his company, Capital Roofing, on board for the festival as its main sponsor because, as a new town resident, he wants "to do my part to be involved in civic life," and because the company is "always looking for new ways to get its name out there." Silva just moved into town about three months ago, but he said he has been involved with the town since he bought his property four years ago. He is also helping to plan the event.

The Wine Festival has drawn $20,000 in sponsorships so far and is still looking for sponsors. Peterson said all sponsors will be treated to a hospitality area at his house, catered by the Bonefish Grill, as well as a year-long partnership with the town, including advertising at all town events and on the Clifton Web site.

Revenue raised by the event will go toward renovating a triangle at the intersection of Clifton and Newman roads, including the installation of a water source for the plants there, the removal of some poles, a new sign and brick pavers, said Peterson. It will also be spent on the repairs to Buckley Bridge. A grant from FEMA is covering most of the bridge repair, but the town still must pay a small percentage of the cost.

"We hope it will be successful enough that there is a second Clifton Wine Festival next year, said Peterson.