BY: RACHEL WUMKES
If ever there has been a reason to celebrate, to really go all out and live life to the fullest… it’s now. Not necessarily today, but it’s coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner on October 3rd and, with some crafty planning and a detailed mitigation plan, it’s actually happening.
Oh. My. Goodness. Can you feel the excitement flowing from the screen as you read this? Seriously, my heart is beating so fast, I can totally skip my workout today.
So, what’s the plan, you ask? Well, here’s the 411 on everything you need to know for a safe and enjoyable Harvest Festival. In a nutshell, it’s going to be the really close to the amazing day it has always been, but with a few special precautions to ensure we keep our distance and stay as safe as possible.
First up, what better way to start out the Harvest Festival celebration than with a little walk/jog/run to get the blood pumping!? Get signed up for the Champagne 5K! All the details you need for the event are inside this handy-dandy link: https://runsignup.com/Race/IA/ClearLake/Champagne5K
The full Harvest Festival event will run from 9am – 4pm, with live music held in the bandshell in City Park. We will not, however, be doing the salsa contest, grape stomp, trolley rides, waiter races or the pumpkin roll. Bummer, I know. Fingers crossed we can bring them back next year!
Most importantly – our bags this year are actually a “Harvest Festival Survival Kit.” Inside will be everything you need to ensure you have the utmost fun whilst attending this fantastic event. Items include (but are not limited to) tons of coupons which can be used throughout the month of October, a poncho in case it rains, a mask because, well, COVID, and a silicone wine glass that won’t break if you drop it.
And who knows… there could be more fun items added as the planning continues. Regular bags are $35 and the VIP are $75. As a VIP, you receive a jute tote bag filled with all the above goodies and more! Food at the VIP lounge will consist of a pre-packaged charcuterie box.
Only 75 VIP bags will be sold this year, so grab them right away! (Update: VIP Bags are now sold out).
Speaking of purchasing bags… the fate of this event happening depends solely on bag purchases.
**Stop, go back, and read that line again**
As it is extremely hard to judge if people are comfortable attending events or not, we have no way to estimate attendee interest. SO – you MUST purchase your Harvest Festival Bag BY NOON on September 8th. If there are not enough bags sold at that time, the event will NOT be held and refunds will be given for those who did purchase a bag. (Update: We sold enough bags, Harvest Festival is ON! We still have some bags available for sale).
Moral of the story here folks… you want a super-fun day of wine tasting and shopping and something fun do to uptown – buy a bag. Said bags are officially ON SALE HERE. Clickety – Click, friends! I want to have this event REALLY bad.
Like, really, really, a lot.
On to other things, should we obtain enough bag sales, the vendor market will be remarkably similar to year’s past; however, a bit more spread out. This is to be expected as we do still want groups to keep their distance as much as possible from other people. Masks are highly recommended (and included), so if you’re in a line or at a crowded vendor table, put them on. Obviously, any shopping inside the fabulous Main Avenue stores will be subject to that establishment’s rules pertaining to masks.
Let’s follow them and be respectful of their wishes so we can all have a fantastic event!
And now, the part you’ve all been wondering… what about the wine tasting? Well folks, it took a little tricky thinking and many scrapped ideas that went straight to the trash, but I think we’ve figured out a way to have a safe, efficient tasting.
Each winery in attendance will have pre-made samples of their wine selection. Attendees will go to a booth to get their ‘sample pack’ so to speak. You’ll then exit the area as we don’t want people lingering at the wine locations to taste their samples. Wineries will have bottles available to purchase, but in a separate line from the tasting area.
Now, you get your girl squad together and decide your plan of action for the tasting/buying portion of this event. Maybe take your samples to the park and enjoy some live music while you sip? If you find a wine you’d like to purchase, you can make the rounds again, going to the ‘purchase’ side of the wine booth to buy a bottle – or seven. It’s up to you, but I think we’ve all had a heck of a year, right? There’s no shame in loading up your wine rack at home to get you through the long, winter months!
Another new feature this year is the online store to purchase Harvest Festival gear. There are t-shirts, baseball shirts, sweatshirts, a bag, lots of super-cool stuff you can check out and purchase if you so desire! The deadline to order is also September 9th (same as the Champagne 5K). Click here to Shop! (Update: the online shop is closed but a limited amount of items will be available at our Chamber pop up shop at Harvest Festival, along with many other gift items!)
All in all, it’s going to be a great day. Fingers crossed for fabulous weather, safe social distancing for everyone in attendance, and memories made to last a lifetime!
Disclaimer: Given the ever-changing atmosphere of our World pertinent to COVID-19, we reserve the right to cancel this event at any time due to new restrictions or regulations put into place at the State and City levels. As much as we want the show to go on, we must do so in a way that provides a safe environment for the protection of all within our community. If the event is cancelled prior to September 7th, attendees will receive a full refund. If the event is cancelled after September 7th, attendees will receive their Harvest Festival Survival Kit as a souvenir to commemorate this crazy year.