Dear Editor:

We had a beautiful holiday weekend for our eighth annual Salida WineFest hosted by Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce Aug. 31 at Riverside Park.

Attendees came from all surrounding counties, plus Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver, Boulder and out-of-staters, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and a spattering of others.

As with last year, we had wines from around the world offered via local wine distributors as well as Colorado wineries. These included local Vino Salida Wine Cellars and Mountain Spirit Winery.

New this year we had two cider companies, a meadery, plus the only sake brewery in Colorado.

To accompany the wine, we had a variety of food vendors to choose from, including Ricky’s Island Café serving up Jamaican delights, The Divide hashing up homegrown elk burgers, Sonny’s gourmet grilled cheese and, topping off everything, a French cheese expert and homemade goodness of breads, jams, pies from our Amish friends in Cotopaxi.

Art in the park was expanded with live demonstrations including local painting by Katie Maher and Carl Ortman, plus live loomwork by LaShay Peterson. Together with the interactive art and live music of Jerry Arellano and David Tipton, the mood in the park was tastefully cheery and dotted with applause and the clinking of wine glasses.

Mediums were available for browsing or purchasing, and they included the fine metalsmithing wares from Lindsey Scot Ernst, glass art from Wilson Design Studio and Booze Bling, exciting wares from Glitter Zen, candles from Petals and Pine Candles, essential oils from Alpenglow Essentials, authentic olive oils from Sogno Toscano and some spicy hot sauce from 12Gage Hot Sauce.

Combined with the wine, food, music and art we had the backbone for the ambiance provided by Settings Event Rental with their charming array of white tables, chairs and high-peaked tents and, adding to that, amazingly gorgeous arrangements from Rancho Verde Flowers, which accompanied all the tables. The pops of color, sounds and smells were the making of a relaxing day.

This by far was our best WineFest yet, and it takes a team to pull it off. I wish to thank my staff and board of directors, Friends of Salida Skateparks, Salida High School cheer and our generous sponsors, including Joyful Journey sponsoring our music, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Jenna Mazzucca Esq., PC, who both sponsored our wine totes.

Additionally: wine glass sponsors Pinon Real Estate Group and High-Country Bank, banner sponsor Xcel Energy, wristband sponsor Renewal by Anderson, bronze sponsors First Colorado Land Office and Palace Hotel. Also, thanks to Monarch Mountain for hosting our first aid tent. We appreciate you and hope those of you who attended had a wonderful time.

Additionally, thanks to our friends at The Mountain Mail, Heart of the Rockies Radio Group, Montrose Water Factory, First Colorado Land Office, Public Works and city of Salida – we appreciate you.

We thank you for your patronage and look forward to seeing you next year.

Lori Roberts, executive director,

Heart of the Rockies

Chamber of Commerce