The agenda also includes art walks and live music by artists such as Grammy award winning performer Trombone Shorty.
El Dorado is aiming to have festivals and special events in the city every other week year-round as part of a goal to become the festival capital of the South and highlight a new theme of “It’s Showtime.”
The festivities begin on Friday evening with a dinner hosted by Presqu’ile Winery at the new El Dorado Conference Center. Presqu’ile Winery is a Santa Maria Valley, California winery with Arkansas roots, owned by the Murphy family. During Friday evening’s wine dinner guests have the chance to sample four varieties of Presqui’le’s wine paired with a menu. The New Birth Brass Band, winners of the Big Easy Award for Best Brass Band, provides music for the evening.
“This first event seemed a natural fit given harvest time, fall beauty, and a family owned Santa Maria Valley winery from El Dorado, Presqu’ile Winery,” said Austin Barrow, President of El Dorado Festivals & Events, Inc. “The focus will not only be on the wonderful food and variety of wines available, but the beautiful topography of our city and some of our finest visual artists. This is the first of many festivals to come.”
On Saturday the festival opens on Union Square with a self-guided art walk at noon. The Granite Club opens to food and wine tasting at 2 and the festival ends with live music by 2011 Grammy nominee Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, well known for their legendary performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
As to tips for those planning to attend the festival, Barrow said to plan early. “We’ve listed some preferred hotels on our website for patrons to book rooms,” he said. “And we’ll have trolleys rolling through our streets from location to location. All of our locations are intimate and a limited amount of tickets are being sold.” Festival maps will also be updated regularly on their website as additional locations are added.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online and range from individual one day passes, two day passes, two day limited access passes, concert tickets or wine dinner only passes
Event directors hope the festival becomes an annual event in the city. Numerous other festivals are also in development for the 2012 season including the birth of a professional theatre, The Southern Theatre Festival.
“This is a step towards our future,” said Barrow about the impact of the festivals on the city. “The people of El Dorado have always prided themselves on the beauty of our little community and we have come together and decided we should start letting others know what the good life looks like.”