The first year the Castle Rock WineFest was held, it was the coldest July day on record, mid-50s and raining. The second year, it was 100 degrees hot. This year's notable measurement: probably people.
Each year, the event, which Castle Rock Chamber President Pam Ridler and two board members thought up one evening over — sip — a glass of wine, has had its memorable memories. This year's, the 10th annual, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 20, will probably have one highlight, in particular. For organizers, anyway.
It'll be even bigger.
The thing keeps growing. The first year had 600 people and 18 wineries. Last year, 3,000 people and 30 wineries, Ridler said.
This year, they're expecting even more people, but the winery number will be the same, 30, because there's no more room where the event is currently held, at The Grange, 3692 Meadows Blvd. in The Meadows subdivision. Ridler said last year's event stretched from The Grange to Paintbrush Park. And that's about the length of three football fields.
The other thing that's growing is its reputation — with the wineries.
Ridler said one winery owner told her the event has become the most popular event on Colorado's “eastern slope.” Wineries every year increase the amount of wine they bring, because they keep selling out.
Parking isn't an issue at The Grange because the WineFest shuttles attendees from their parking spots at The Outlets at Castle Rock.
Wineries come from around Colorado and so do attendees, Ridler said. Castle Rock hotels are offering special deals.
In addition to wine, there's song. A Denver band, Waitin' on Ray, will plays “everything from Journey and Zeppelin, to INXS and the Black-Eyed Peas.”
Also planned are free demonstrations from Colorado chefs, bakers and a chocolatier. Restaurants will offer food for sale and several dozen artists and specialty shops will offer their creations.
For those who don't think one day is enough, leading up to the July 20 WineFest will be two “winemaker dinners” at which select wines from a particular winery are paired with the restaurants' finest foods. That happens July 16 at Gabriel's Restaurant, 5450 Manhart Ave., Sedalia, and at Augustine Grill, 519 Wilcox St., Castle Rock.
For tickets and other information, go to www.castlerockculture.com/castle-rock-winefest.
If you go
10th Annual Castle Rock WineFest
When: 2-8 p.m. July 20
Where: The Grange at The Meadows, 3692 Meadows Blvd.
Parking: Catch shuttle at The Outlets at Castle Rock